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Re: Utility of Scavenger vs. Predator Argument

<I have been somewhat bemused by the amount of energy spent on the 
argument between those who think T. Rex was a scavenger vs. those who 
think T. Rex was a predator. It seems I must be missing something.  I'd 
like to know why this argument is so intense, and in what significant 
way knowing the answer would advance our knowledge.>

Okay, I'm not a paleontologist, not even an undergraduate of any 
scientific field, but I am bewilderingly fascinated by dinosaurs. From 
this point, and an artist's perspective, I have wondered about what 
would make the picture real, or the bone real, how or why they would 
have gotten that way. It has its own appeal, does it not, to know that 
Sue suffered from gout? It makes them real. It also makes a drawing of 
an aching, groaning tyrannosaur real. We knew they were not giant 
tail-dragging lizards, from the trackway evidence and structural 
construction of the hips, back and tail; we knew the diets, in part, of 
*Compsognathus* and *Coelophysis*, *Cryolophosaurus* being the first 
with any possible connection to predation on a prosauropod, and how 
several *Deinonychus* were found with one lone ornithopod, 
*Tenontosaurus*. What makes it all so relevant, so fascinating to know 
"why should we know why"? Ask a kid who looks at a dinosaur first hand, 
seeing the mounts in the museums, and watch his face turn to awe at the 
rearing *Barosaurus*, or the two *Allosaurus* attacking the 
*Camptosaurus*, and there you might find your answer.

<And this argument is fun, and interesting. But what does it all MEAN?>

It means that science has found a solution: not to solve anything, but 
to learn why, and to figure it out. We will never know the exact surety 
of any of our theories, because there is no way to test them by 
observing the dinosaurs themselves. At least not yet, and I say this as 
postulating that _all_ things are possible, or at least plausible.

Jaime A. Headden

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