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T. rex's vision as SUPPORT for scavenging activitiy...
In my opinion-- obligate scavenger is not the most probable lifestyle for T.
rex, and there are strong arguments for a top predator lifestyle, as well some
against the obligate scavenger hypothesis. That said, there is no doubt that
the ability to scavenge/co-opt fortuitous mortalities in the local large animal
population is potentially advantageous for top predators.
The ability to detect fortuitous mortality in a timely fashion is obviously
critically important to efficient utilization of such resources, and any sense
used for detection is therefore subject to strong directional selection. IF
there is the presence of a population of volant scavengers, then timely visual
cues (eg, circling vultures) to any local large animal death exist, and are
detectable from distances up to 40 miles in an open environment.
Given the large size of resource animals extant in the Cretaceous, a relatively
large time window for utilization would exist. An open environment, very large
animals, and volant scavengers seems like an ideal recipe for evolving keen
(ie, long-range) daytime vision in a large terrestrial predator.
I don't know if this has been addressed before, in print. If it has, sorry
about the lack of reference.
Any candidates for the role of volant scavenger(s) co-existing with T. rex?