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Re: Herbivore protection



Jeff Poling noted that BHI has found fossil evidence suggesting
female-dominated family groups, which would negate my "...wide-ranging
loner..." scenario.  I'm not sure that this eliminates the question of
whether or not the T. Rexes were limited in number by other causes, however.
 As a matter of fact, it might better explain it... if the reproducing
females, or allowable male members in a given "pack", were limited by social
behaviour.

Your note to me that an abundant food source would cause an explosion in the
population of predators feeding on that source is quite familiar; this is why
I was alluding to some other limiting factor.  I agree, this is hard to
visualize for T. Rex as an active predator, but I was searching.  I also
considered the possibility that the hadrosaurs had some sort of defence that
would not fossilize... say, poisonous skin (similar to some frogs today) or a
scent-based defence (like a skunk... esp since T. Rex is thought to have had
substantial olfactory capabilities) or maybe they just tasted bad to T. (like
the monarch butterfly to some extant birds).  But it seems that, given the
time frame over which these critters lived, some evolutionary adaptation /
exaptation would have allowed T. to eventually add the hadrosaurs to the
menu.

Thus we are left with the scavenger scenario you mention, but don't like.
 This option also crossed my mind, but I was aware you wouldn't care for it,
as well as many other list subscribers, and I figured I'd said too much
already, esp for a hobbyist.... ;-)

In any event, the fossil record seems to support the argument that T. Rexes
numbers are disproportionately small relative to hadrosaurs if they were
indeed hunted by T. Rex.  So either we find a new defence for the hadrosaurs
(as you suggest) or we reconsider T. Rex's behaviour / position in the food
chain.

Thanks for your thoughts and comments, and I look forward to your return to
the list after the summer.

Wayne A. Bottlick.