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T.Rex predation etc...



Referring to my evolutionary comments re the "dinosauroid" and my com-
parison to Allosaurus and T.Rex, our esteemed host pointed out:

>[It's not clear whether or not you intended this, but just in case someone
> else interprets you this way I'd like to make sure it's stated up front
> that Allosaurs are no longer considered to be the ancestors of
> Tyrannosaurs.  

Good points -- I was a little careless in choosing my example. Not that I
think it weakens my point about the evolutionary imperative.

>Also they may or may not have filled the same niche; I
> strongly suspect that Jack Horner would vehemently disagree with your
> contention that they did.  -- MR ]

        Yeah, I read "The Complete T.Rex" too. Learned a lot, but he didn't
convince me that Rex was a pure scavenger. I come down on the side of
those who see Rex as a top predator, with oportunistic scavenging thrown
in. 
        People who want to prove that Rex was a pure scavenger often point
out the large olfactory lobe, and the sense of smell it implies. Well, don't 
hunters need a sense of smell too? Look at wolves -- they are primarily 
hunters, not scavengers.
        One of the things that tends to convince me is the hadrosaur vertebrae
with a partially healed bite missing, attributed to Rex. This obviously implies
that the beastie lived for a while after Rex took his bite -- and that's not
scavenging. (By the way, I'm curious what speculations this might lead to
concerning relative speeds between them. Of course, it doesn't necessarily
imply that this hadrosaur, or any hadrosaur, simply outran its attacker. In
an attack on a herd, the attacker may have simply found another, easier
kill running by.)
        Which leads me to another question: both that bite and one taken, if
I'm not mistaken, from another Rex were verterbral attacks. How many docu-
mented T.Rex bites are there, and from what regions of the target? I know
the great cats of today will go for a vertebral bite given the opportunity, for
the easy kill it offers. Can we establish a bite pattern for Rex, and possibly
other theropods? Were they that sophisticated (assuming, of course, that
you accept them as hunters at all!)? This seems to me a fine evolutionary
imperative for ceratopians to grow their big defensive frills...
        Any thoughts?

Wayne Anderson