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Re: T. rex

---Sara Burch <sara@burch.net> wrote:
> I am certainly not a T. rex expert, but here's a thought. Lions will
> take a piece of dead meat if it's available, and hyenas will hunt
down prey if
> they can't scavenge. Therefore, T. rex may have been mostly a
hunter, or
> mostly a scavenger, but that doesn't mean it didn't hunt or scavenge
once in a
> while. T. rex would probably have taken dead meat, as well as it
would have hunted.

You know, Sara, I heard Jack Horner give a talk at the AMNH when he
was hawking his book and he more or less conceded the same thing --
that this question is a red herring, because very few carnivores are
100% predators or 100% scavengers.

I think what he was saying for those wishing to read between the lines
was that he was raising this issue at least in part to get people to
think about T. rex just the way that you now are.  Many people grew up
assuming that T. rex was a homicidal maniac running around killing
just for the hell of it. This of course is silly, but Horner's claim
that T. rex was an obligate scavenger made a lot of incensed people
actually sit down and think hard about T. rex's lifestyle and what
could be reasonably inferred from its morphology. It also made people
look for things like evidence of predation upon likely prey species.  

The fact that people are now seeing T. rex as an animal as you
obviously do instead of as a monster is to *some* extent attributable
to Jack Horner's scavenger red herring.  I'm not saying that he
*doesn't* believe in his theory, by the way; just that, by raising it,
he's done a lot of good for those of us interested in the tyrant

Then again, maybe he's right.  :)

The third was asked which animal was the smartest of all, and the Brahmin 
replied: "The one we have not found yet."
---From Plutarch's biography of Alexander the Great


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