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re: T. rex



 >
 > On June 8 Stan Friesen wrote:
 >
 > > I do not believe that it is *possible* for a non-flying land
 > > animal to be a scavenger at the size of T. rex and its relatives.
 > > >
 >      Just remember that when the T-rex lived there were plenty of
 > large animals that were the same size, or even larger, around.  That
 > would mean there would be some pretty large carcasses around for it
 to
 > scavenge off of.

It doesn't quite work that way.  Larger animals are rarer,
and so fewer carcasses are available.  In reality the total
biomass in large animals is not much, if any, more than that
in small ones.  Large carcasses are few and far between most
of the time, even where large animals are abundant.  The only
exception is the occasional mass death (perhaps in a flood).

The prey animals available to the modern African carnivores are
mostly as large, or larger, than the large carnivores.  Yet none
of them successfully sustain a scavenger lifestyle.

The main limitation is the ability to patrol large areas to locate
enough of the scarce large carcasses to maintain enough energy
to reproduce.  Vultures (including condors) can manage this by
*gliding* long distances at little cost.  This means they can
afford to live on scarce resources.  An animal that must walk
cannot roam nearly as far, and spends more energy going less
distance to boot.


No, I am afraid that the Brown Hyena of the Levant is about the
largest ground scavenger you will ever see.  The bigger Spotted
Hyena is an active, and aggressive, hunter.

swf@elsegundoca.ncr.com         sarima@netcom.com

The peace of God be with you.