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Tyrannosaurs & gout

        The recent description of gout in a specimen of T. rex (Rothschild
et al 1997) invites speculation as to the cause.  As Rothschild et al note,
one possible explanation is that the diet of T. rex included large amounts
of red meat due to the high purine content of red meat relative to white 
meat.  Since red meat= high oxidative capacity muscle, the skeletal muscle
of T. rex prey items (other dinosaurs, most likely) may have possessed a high
aerobic capacity for sustained activity relative to extant reptiles.

Rothschild, B.M., Tanke, D., & Carpenter, K. (1997).  Tyrannosaurs suffered
from gout.  Nature, 387, 357.

Guy Leahy
Dept. of PEHR
Western Washington University
Bellingham, WA 98225