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Re: T. Rex, Scavenger
>Anyway, all of that suggests that T. Rex had first place at
>any kill it discovered
I still find this as difficult to swallow as a pachycephalosaurus dead for
a week. Lions, according to my reading, seldom appear first at a dead animal
they did not kill, but they can, and do, displace smaller scavengers. Nova,
in fact, has shown jackals as the premier scavengers, depicting them as the
ones being _displaced_ by lions.
But such observations merely beg the question. So T-rex may have had first
place at any kill it discovered. What killed it? Are we presuming that
saurians, tricers, stegosaurs and other such large, apparently herding,
creatures are hunted exclusively by dromeosaurs in the quart-size and smaller?
There are a few modern animals whose size and herding instincts protect them
from most non-human predation, but I find it hard to believe that so many
species of large dinosaurs had also reached this exalted position, especially
when facing a fossil that has "big game hunter" written all over it.
Even a pride of allosaurs would have a tough time preying on a herd of
large saurians, if rex didn't kill them then it follows the only source
of dead saurians is old age, disease and accident. With such a relatively
limited food source, it seems rather weird that any scavenger would evolve
such size and mass - requiring a proportional size and mass of food - soley
for the apparent purpose of being the most threatening scavenger. It would
also seem to imply that rex was _extremely_ rare.
And lions may well be the top of the heap in the scavenging world, but they
unquestionably moonlight as pretty efficient predators. So, it turns out,
do jackals, that staple of scavenger definitions, make a lot, maybe even most
of their living, from active hunting. I dunno, maybe rex just hunts at
night, so Horner and company don't see them. :)