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Re: New Tyrannosaurus Study



I'm extremely skeptical of attempts to create "expected encounter rates" 
through the fossil record. That kind of community-level resolution is all but 
impossible.

> Abstract: Identifying tradeoffs between hunting and
> scavenging in an
> ecological context is important for understanding predatory
> guilds. In the
> past century, the feeding strategy of one of the largest
> 
> terrestrial carnivores, Tyrannosaurus rex, has been the
> subject of much
> debate: was it an active predator or an obligate scavenger?
> Here we look at
> the feasibility of an adult T. rex being an obligate
> scavenger in the
> environmental conditions of Late Cretaceous North America,
> given the size
> distributions of sympatric herbivorous dinosaurs and likely
> competition with
> more abundant small-bodied theropods. We predict that
> nearly 50 per cent of
> herbivores would have been within a 55-85 kg range, and
> calculate based on
> expected encounter rates that carcasses from these
> individuals would have
> been quickly consumed by smaller theropods. Larger
> carcasses would have been
> very rare and heavily competed for, making them an
> unreliable food source.
> The potential carcass search rates of smaller theropods are
> predicted to be
> 14-60 times that of an adult T. rex. Our results suggest
> that T. rex and
> other extremely large carnivorous dinosaurs would have been
> unable to
> compete as obligate scavengers and would have primarily
> hunted large
> vertebrate prey, similar to many large mammalian carnivores
> in modern-day
> ecosystems.