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Open wide for chunky



Hey everyone,

If it matters, my thinking concerning Tyrannosaurids bite attributes is
resultant of observations of extant species, but may hold some value
nonetheless.

If hadrosaurs were on the menu for a starving T. rex, in broken plains,
even a speedy version of a T. rex might have trouble making a kill. Getting
close enough to start a charge before being spotted by the hadrosaurs seems
unlikely. This is not to say the T. rex might not try, and be successful.
Heck the beast might have been able to run for hours, but I jsut can't
picture it. Therefore a nipping, slashing, bloodletting, bite of a typical
speedy predator doesn't seem to fit, and physically doesn't match. However,
if the same T.rex took advantage of available cover, positioned "himself"
correctly(in relation to prey movement), and struck violently from close
range, biting a trauma inducing wound as large as possible possible to
inflict sudden and massive damage, just seems to fit. If indeed the bite
wasn't an instant kill in and of itself, a T. rex sized mouthful of a
hadrosaur's flesh would have an effect on the hadrosaur. Yes, I know about
the DMNH hadrosaur, and this is one of the hints that T.rex was a chunk
biter. What we see in that hadrosaur specimen in Denver is a pretty lucky
dinosaur. Had that same mouth closed around the neck of the hadrosaur, well
the force would not be with it.

In all prey-predator relationships there are weaknesses and strenghts on
both sides of the game. If hadrosaurs were in a herd their strenghts would
have been more eyes to keep a lookout, more noses to smell danger, and the
confusion of multiple targets in a crisis. If T. rex were hunting the same
herd "he" would have the advantages of being able to locate the herd easier
than a single animal, a choice of the infirm or weak members of the herd to
target, and the induction of herdwide panic that often leads to fatal
errors in judgement especially among inexperienced members when the attack
was launched. It only seems to make sense that to take advantage of the
strenghts on the side of the T. rex a stealthy, short duration, high energy
attack should have been employed. To take that chunk of flesh while in a
sustained chase seems more unlikey simpley because of the increased
difficulty factor. Also to carry out a chase and bite hunt the T. rex feet
would have been more difficult to directly employ than in a pounce and
grapple style, and those feet would been excellent weaponry.

Yes, I have imagined or speculated as to the methods of killing by the
larger late Cretaceous therapods, based on their bite size. A nipper has to
chase, a chunk biter might not need to.

Roger A. Stephenson