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RE: Lack of Running Giant Theropod Track
Dann Pidgon wrote
>If they did hunt in groups, then having younger and more agile members do the
>chasing, and larger members waiting in ambush, might have been a better
>>strategy that played to everyone's strengths.
I have several problems with the hypothetical pack hunting behavior:
1. The life spans of the adults were probably so short that the parents would
not have lived long enough to see (at least most of) their offspring reach
adulthood, which would have eventually left a pack of youngsters hunting on
their own anyway.
2. Since adult Tyrannosaurs were most likely faster than all similarly sized
animals in their ecosystem, the only use the juveniles would have been in a
pack would be to hunt the young of large species and faster smaller species,
which were animals they could bring down on their own; they must have done so
at some point anyway since the life spans of their parents were so short.
Considering how selfish genes can be, it would not make a lot of sense for the
young to spend huge amounts of energy and risk their lives to bring down
animals that their parents are too slow to catch and would eat majority of even
if they could. It would be like young crocs catching fast moving fish and
allowing their parents to eat most of them, rather than keeping the fish for
themselves, all while trying not to get *eaten* by the adults.
3. Juvenile Tyrannosaurs had longer snouts, blade like teeth, more gracile
limbs etc. all suggestive of the possibility that they hunted different prey,
perhaps filling a different predatory niche. The relationship between young and
old Tyrannosaurs may have been less analogous to lion prides and more analogous
to the differences we see between cheetahs and lions. As with lions and
cheetahs, there may have been *competition* between the adults and young due to
at least some degree of crossover in prey options, as well as from adults
stealing the kills of juveniles.
Here comes my big GUESS on the social behavior of Tyrannosaurus rex:
I'm guessing that the adults formed mated pairs upon reaching sexual maturity.
This would help in rearing young as well as bringing down large and dangerous
game such as Triceratops with less risk of injury. If the more gracile morph
was male, then their may have been some division of labor in hunting between
the males and females. Parental care was probably somewhere in between
crocodilians and birds, with the young being precocial. If the young were
precocial and able to hunt almost immediately, it would have allowed the
parents to produce a large number of young every year without devoting too much
energy to parenting and gathering food. Once the young reached a certain age,
they may have been driven off by their parents, or perhaps they left on their
own to form creche like packs. There may have been similar behavior in other
theropods such as Deinonychus since most of the specimens recovered in "packs"
End of mental masturbation...