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Re: T.rex predation



Dictator-for-life Calvin wrote:
> 
> >There's also the possibility that the wounded animals were not the
> >Tyrannosaur's
> >hunting target. Maybe the wounded hadrosaurs  were just defending their
> >nests or their young
> 
> Which would imply that the nests and young needed defending from
> tyrannosaurs, which implies that tyrannosaurs were out to eat them.
> Sounds like they were hunting targets after all (at least the
> younguns).

And, actually, this makes perfect sense as a hunting strategy.  Horner's
advanced the idea that _T. rex_ was big to scare off other
predators/scavengers, but what if it was big just to scare off nesting
parents?  Those nests wouldn't be exactly easy to hide, they wouldn't be
mobile at all, and their scent would stick out like a sore thumb
(wonderful for someone with _T. rex's_ sense of smell).  Most parents
will defend their young, but only up to a certain point.  That point is
generally the parents' lives; if they die, the young certainly die and
they can't try again.  So, it would seem _T. rex_ is pretty well adapted
to being a raider, invading nest sites to grab meals and fighting off
anyone who gets in his way and supplementing this diet in the off season
with a bit of hunting and scavenging.
 
> >Why not a scavenger/hunter of small(er) prey?
> 
> Something's been on my mind.  Why is the question always, "How do you
> know that tyrannosaurs were hunters instead of scavengers?"  I'd take
> one look at a tyrannosaur skeleton and ask, "What makes you think
> that they were scavengers instead of hunters?"  Is it the size?  Cuz
> if that's the case, given the existence of very large allosaurs from
> the Morrison (Epanterias, Saurophaganax), Acrocanthosaurus from the
> Antlers Formation, and let's not forget Giganotosaurus and
> Charcharodontosaurus (did I spell that right?), there are whole host
> of 40 foot, 5 ton scavengers roaming the Mesozoic landscape.  I know
> that Mesozoic and modern ecosystems are not directly comparable, but
> until someone proves to me that bears, tigers, lions, wolves, etc. are
> PRIMARILY scavengers and predation is not a significant part of their
> existence, I'll be highly skeptical of any claims that all of the
> largest Mesozoic terrestrial carnivores were PRIMARILY scavengers.

This is quite a good argument, really; the dromies can't be responsible
for all the primary killing, and there's no way to fuel that many
scavengers on deaths via natural causes alone.  I think Horner's main
idea is that the other tyrannosaurs may well have been hunters but that
the really big ones like _T. rex_ might have been scavenging the kills
of others.  While he makes a good argument for why _T. rex_ *could* have
been a scavenger, there's no evidence that that *must* have been (or was
even more likely than the alternative) case.

Chris