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At 09:23 AM 9/12/97 -0600, Jeffrey Martz wrote:
>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 

Make that *terrestrial* carnivore.  Aerial search still beats ground search.

>...  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.   

Problem is, I doubt it could FIND the carrion all that quickly walking
around on the ground.  Smell is a poor substitute for aerial observation.

But there is even worse to come - see below:

>...  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

You also need to factor in *energy* budgets.  I gliding vulture spends less
energy than while standing.  You might almost say it is dozing.  On the
other hand, ground search requires walking, which the laws of physics
require to take *more* energy than standing.

This means that at the same mass a ground hunter requires three or four
times as much meat as an aerial glider such as a vulture just to break
even.  Even allowing for less than linear scaling, this means T. rex
required *lots* of meat!

> If
>they always get chased off when they get there because other nearby
>scavengers got there as fast, how does getting there fast help?
It means you get *something*.  Furthermore, the early pickings are better
quality than the leftovers.  A few bites of solid flesh is about as good as
a pound or so of scraps.

May the peace of God be with you.         sarima@ix.netcom.com