In the absence of direct observations, palentologists have to infer ecological an behavourial traits from dental and skeletal morphology.

Functional analysis of structures and morphologies among recente relatives forms the basis of such studies.

Because of the nature of the fossil record, much attention has been paid to dental morphology, which has proven to be a useful indicator of diet.

However, traits such as locomotor adaptations are equally important indicators of the mode of life of individual taxa, and these have to be inferred from the appendicular skeleton.