[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

T.rex cannibals

     I don't know if this has been posted yet, so here it is.  From EARTH, 
February, 1996 issue:

'T.REX GETS TOUGHER: by Robert Naeye

     'When people imagine a Tyrannosaurus rex attack, the hapless victim 
is usually a poor, defenseless herbivore.  But evidence from recently 
unearthed T.rex bones indicates that these beasts frequently turned thier 
six-inch-long teeth and lethal claws upon one another.  Like lions in the 
Serengetti plain, T.rex individuals and family groups engaged in brutal 
combat as they vied for supremecy over choice hunting grounds.  They 
apparently practiced cannibalism on others of thier species.  
     'This new veiw of T.rex comes from three skeletons unearthed over the 
last five years by scientists at the Black Hills Institute of Geological 
Research in Hill City, South Dakota.  The fossils were all found within a 
one-square-mile area.  In addition, they were found in sedimentary layers 
separated by only a dozen or so yards, meaning the individuals lived 
within a few thousand years of one another.
     'Paleontologist and Institute president Peter Larson thinks this 
proximity in time and space insn't just coincidence.  In the late 
Cretaceous, 65 million years ago, this locality was a lush environment of 
forests and streams- perfect for plant eaters and the carnivores that fed 
upon them.  Many modern day predators fight for dominance over prime real 
estate, so its easy to imagine T.rex having done so as well.
     'Larson points to horrific wound marks to indicate that T.rexes 
fought fierce battles over territory.  A male specimen named Stan had a 
hole in the back of his skull that later healed.  A T.rex tooth fits 
perfectly into the hole.  The nearly complete female specimen named Sue, 
discovered in 1990 (and the subject of a bitter legal battle over who 
should have custody of her bones), suffered a non-fatal broken rib.  
Embedded in the broken and infected rib was a tooth fragment from another 
T.rex.  But Sue got off easy that time.  Larson also found fatal wounds 
on the left side of her skull that were clearly the result of a T.rex 
bite.  "Sue's face was literally torn off by another T.rex" Larson says.
    'But perhaps the most intriguing insight into T.rex behavior comes 
from the latest find, a specimen named Steven.  Some of Steven's 
vertebrae were literally bitten in half, and the spinal bones that 
connected to tenderloin and T.bone steaks are missing.  The only known 
animal living at the time with large enough and strong enough jaws to 
bite through T.rex bone was T.rex.
    'According to Larson, this is the first evidence that T.rex feasted 
on its own kind.  "We knew they fought each other, we knew they killed 
each other once in a while, but we didn't know they ate each other too," 
he says.'

LN Jeff, Y.S.

      By the way, if Doug McLemore is listening, could you send me 
something?  I've lost your e-mail address.  Thanx.