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Re: rex scavenge

On Fri, 12 Sep 1997, Jeffrey Martz wrote:

>        This last is my own main concern with the idea of T.rex as a pure
> scavenger.  But as far as the relative abundance of predator-killed vs.
> old age, sickness etc. carcasses, do you have any hard data to suggest
> that most large dead animals in a given area were really killed by
> predators?
        I didn't think anybody was seriously arguing that T.rex was a pure
scavenger, but rather what percentage of its diet came from each source
(scavenging vs. active predation).  I'm at a loss to think of any
vertebrate terrestrial predators which are purely scavengers (maybe
there are, I don't claim to know all the extant species). Still, no
animal passes up a free lunch. In the end it's all about calories.  An
animal attempts to gain as many as it needs while expending as few as
possible.  Predator don't turn their backs on freshly killed meat that
they are able to take.
        As for T.rex, I have no doupt that it scavenged whenever it could.
However, I am douptful that it was this scavenging activity which caused
its lineage to develop such a large and muscular head filled with serrated
teath.  To me, this suggests that T.rex was designed primarily as a
predator which likely killed by inflicting massive tissue trauma.  If it
were primarily scavenging, I'd expect a slender skull, capable of more
efficiently cleaning a carcass, or teeth more specialized for the crushing
of bone.
                                        Scott McCray