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*****SPAM***** Tyrannosaurus - scavenger, my craggy butte

On Monday, February 16, 2004, at 09:46 PM, Craven, David wrote:

I've always thought the Rex would be kind of like the lion in africa. A bit
of both. Quite capable of hunting it's own food, but not averse to
scavenging if it's easy meat.

Seems highly likely, as this is true of most meat-eaters. Apart from vultures and the Tasmanian devil, I can't think of any extant carnivore that is primarily a carrion-eater. Even the much-maligned hyena kills most of its own food, except in the rare case that they're outnumbered by lions to freeload from (it's usually the reverse). Most meat-eaters would be full-time scavengers if possible, just as most humans would prefer to get free groceries rather than have to work for them... but there's seldom a free lunch.

So none of today's beasts approach T. rex in size... but even if it couldn't run, that doesn't preclude it from being a highly-effective ambush predator - much like crocodilians and the Komodo dragon, today's closest analogs to the Tyrannosaurus. If you were gonna take down a Triceratops, you'd really want to do it from behind. Horner cites T. rex's probable keen sense of smell as evidence of scavengry, but there's good reason why an ambush-attacker would benefit greatly from that.

The "Either/Or" mentality in palaeontology really annoys me sometimes!

For sure. Dinos must have been more than the superficial stereotypes they're commonly portrayed as.

Peter Markmann