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> It's more than that,though.  It just wouldn't be efficient to rely
> primarily on scavenging; there's a reason vultures are the only large
> scavengers out there -- they can soar all over creation looking for food
> and it costs them next to nothin in terms on energy expenditure. 
> Picture a wolf trying the same thing: do you honestly think it could
> find enough dead stuff to subsist on?  

     The key word is "find".  The vulture subsists on scavenging partly by
being able to get to the carrion quickly, but also by being able to FIND
it quickly.  Vision at high altitudes is a great advantage for finding
food.  If a land bound creature had could find food as quickly as that,
and could head in the right direction quickly, it could reach a kill in
fairly good time.  Yes, it would probably have been picked over some by
scavengers who ALSO followed thier noses, but it could scare these off.
Unless the dead animal was actually killed by a predator, the T.rex's
chances of getting to it FIRST is no less then any other local carnivore,
and considerably higher with that big olfactory lobe.  As far as having to
compete with OTHER tyrannosaurs, the distribution of large predators in a
given area may have been low enough for competition to not be so much of a

> Vultures operate by
> finding food fast, getting to it quickly via flight, and scaring off
> other predators via large numbers.  _T. rex_ didn't have any of these
> advantages, andthat sniffer would work just as well for finding food as
> for finding carrion.

     You don't think T.rex could scare off other scavengers?  And yes, if
they are lucky vultures may get to a fresh kill before anyone else, or
only have to deal with a couple golden jackels.  However, if there are a
number of large carnivores (such as lions and hyenas present) they will
have to wait thier turn.  Not many african carnivores have the huge size
advantage that T.rex did over most of the other local carnivores.  This,
combined with an ability to locate carrion quickly, may have made it a
more effective scavenger.   
      You are also making broad assumptions about the scarce distribution
of carrion in T.rex's environment.  I would like to see some
hard data on carrion distribution in modern ecosystems.  I would also like
to know about the relative importance of FINDING food and getting to it
quickly in vultures; even if they get to the food quickly, how often to
they get a full meal out of it before a big scavenger shows up?  If
they always get chased off when they get there because other nearby
scavengers got there as fast, how does getting there fast help?  Refs

LN Jeff