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Re: Stinky T rex theory?

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard W Travsky <rtravsky@uwyo.edu>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Friday, 06 June, 2003 8:54 AM
Subject: Stinky T rexes?

> hmmm
> http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=scienceNews&storyID=2887380
> T-Rex -- Savage Killer or Scavenging Bully?
> Fri June 6, 2003 12:57 AM ET
> egarded as a savage killer marauding unchallenged across the later
> dinosaur era.
> But new research suggests a different interpretation, casting T-Rex as
> little more than a scavenger, hunting out the kills of other carnivores
> and stealing them.
> "Big, nasty and stinky -- that's my idea of T-Rex. I don't believe there
> is any evidence for it being a predator at all," paleontologist Jack
> Horner said in a statement.
> He will be putting his theory up for public scrutiny in an exhibition at
> London's Natural History Museum that will run from August 2003 to May
> 2004.
> Horner, credited with being the inspiration for Alan Grant -- played by
> Sam Neill -- in Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park," argues that the
> monster's forelegs were too short, its eyes too small and its speed too
> slow to make it a hunter.
> On the other hand, like a vulture, a large part of its brain was dedicated
> to sensing smells and it could travel long distances.
> Horner, curator of paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana
> and technical advisor to Stephen Spielberg for the Jurassic Park films,
> argues that T-Rex used its bulk and stink to simply bully smaller
> dinosaurs away from their meals.

Was T-Rex a killer? There has been a lot of debate over this bit of
when Jack Horner first propose that T-Rex was only a scavenger.
His reasoning was that due to its small arms and large olfactory lobes
that it had to be purely a scavenger. Its legs were also designed for
walking in his opinion and T-Rex probably use his size to rob other

Well, where should I start? Nature to the best of my knowledge has never
given an animal a weapon it didn't use. Bees sting, cats scratch, dogs bite
and a Tyrannosaur would certainly have used it's four foot long jaws and
eight inch serrated teeth to dispatch prey. The small arms are not a
physical impairment in
killing ether. Crocodiles and snakes do an admirable job with out the use of
grasping claws. Like snakes and crocodiles T-Rex was probably an ambush
predator. Like the Komoto Dragons, Tyrannosaur teeth serrations would have
harbored bits of meat for extended periods. Such food particles are
receptacles for septic bacteria-even a nip from a tyrannosaur, therefore,
might have been a source of a fatal infection and with his great sense of
smell follow the prey to its end. As for the speed of T-Rex, ground birds
and mammals can sustain walking speeds of 3-10 km/h.  We actually know the
foraging speeds of large
theropods, from a large sample of trackways that consistently record the
strides only made at speeds of 3-10 km/h. Fast enough to capture most of
the likely prey animals of its day Triceratops and Edmontosaurus.
My last thought on T-Rex is that if they used their size to intimidate
other predators and drive them away from their kills. What happens
to a juvenile Rex that is not large enough to frighten away other predators?
It is more likely the young Rex would end up as lunch with out the
help of a parent. It takes perhaps seven years for a Tyrannosaur to reach
adulthood. Hunting is a structured behavior that is learned by the youngster
from a parent. It will take  years for a predator to be on its own. The
discovery of Tinker a adolescent T-Rex found in it's nest establish for the
first time parental care by Tyrannosaur. Would T-Rex scavenge a dead animal
you bet he
would. All predators scavenge when they can, but large size animals can't
rely on scraps and leftovers to stay alive. So why would Jack Horner
propose something so different ? If you don't find any thing new or exciting
in the field, then good old controversy will get you on TV.