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Re: Students decide if Tyrannosaurus could chase down & kill a Triceratops

On Thu, Feb 20th, 2014 at 8:49 AM, Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:

> An article that may be of interest:
> S. Randolph May (2014)
> The Coevolution of Tyrannosaurus & Its Prey: Could Tyrannosaurus Chase
> Down & Kill a Triceratops for Lunch?
> The American Biology Teacher 76(2):118-123
> doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/abt.2014.76.2.8
> http://www.bioone.org/doi/abs/10.1525/abt.2014.76.2.8
> Students will analyze the coevolution of the predator--prey
> relationships between Tyrannosaurus rex and its prey species using
> analyses of animal speeds from fossilized trackways, prey-animal
> armaments, adaptive behaviors, bite marks on prey-animal fossils,
> predator--prey ratios, and scavenger competition. The students will be
> asked to decide whether T. rex was a predator, an opportunistic
> scavenger, or an obligate scavenger.

Surely the only hypothesis to be tested is whether or not T.rex was an obligate 
scavenger? Just 
about any predator is also an opportunistic scavenger.

Relative speed need have nothing to do with the issue. Slower predators can 
catch faster prey by 
ambushing them, or by having superior stamina and exhausting them in a 
prolonged chase. It also 
helps obligate scavengers to be able to get to a carcass before anything else 
does, so a fast animal 
needn't be an active predator.


Dann Pigdon
Spatial Data Analyst               Australian Dinosaurs
Melbourne, Australia               http://home.alphalink.com.au/~dannj