Tyrannosaurs were scavengers, not predatorsJuly 9th, 2010 - 4:14 pm ICT by ANI
London, July 9 (ANI): Tooth marks found on the humerus of a plant-eating dinosaur found in Mongolia have revealed that Tyrannosaurs were actually scavengers and not predators, as is widely believed.
The tooth marks show that a large tyrannosaur deftly removed the meat from the 0.9-metre-long bone, yet the rest of the skeleton showed no sign it had been attacked by a predator.
That’s a sure sign of scavenging, says David Hone of the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing, China.
The dietary preferences of Tyrannosaurus rex, the biggest tyrannosaur, became a matter of debate in the early 1990s.
Jack Horner of the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, suggested that despite its powerful jaws, T. rex’s puny arms and massive legs would have made it an ineffective and ponderous predator.
However, palaeontologists tend to believe - as do the public, after Jurassic Park - that T. rex was an active predator.
Hone Watabe and Mahito Watabe of the Hayashibara Museum of Natural Sciences in Okayama, Japan, report that three distinctive types of tooth marks on the 70-million-year-old bone match the pattern and shape of the teeth Tarbosaurus, an Asian tyrannosaur nearly as big as T. rex.
The marks are distributed in ways that indicated the tyrannosaur was biting to carve off chunks of flesh rather than attacking live prey.
Because the rest of the skeleton was largely intact and showed no bite marks, they suggest that a flood had buried its body in riverside deposits, leaving only the forelimb exposed for the hungry Tarbosaurus.
Scavenging makes just as much sense for big fearsome predators as it does for less scary ones, said tyrannosaur specialist Thomas Holtz of the University of Maryland at College Park.
“Meat that doesn’t fight back is a lot easier to get,” New Scientist quoted him as saying.
Holtz was intrigued by the evidence that the Tarbosaurus selectively sliced meat from the bone with its teeth, rather than pulverising the bone and gorging itself.
The study is published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. (ANI)
- Scientists identify long lost cousin of T. rex in China - Apr 01, 2011
- For 80mn years, Tyrannosaurs were the size of humans - Sep 17, 2010
- Jagged teeth lent cutting edge to T. Rex ferocity - Feb 29, 2012
- Were the ancestors of T.rex vegetarian? - Dec 21, 2010
- T.rex was 'more hyena than lion' - Feb 23, 2011
- T-Rex's gigantic cousin located in China - Apr 01, 2011
- How Jurassic predators evolved into mega meat-eaters - Oct 02, 2010
- T. Rex found bitten by cousin - Sep 22, 2009
- Fossils Indicate Velociraptor Scavenging On A Dinosaur - Apr 20, 2010
- T-Rex was wily, not fearsome predator - Feb 23, 2011
- 8-horned T. Rex cousin was a 'ballerina', not a macho guy - Oct 06, 2009
- Fossils of bird-like dinosaurs discovered in Australia - May 18, 2012
- Tyrannosaurus Rex Revealed To Be Cannibals - Oct 18, 2010
- Scientist unravels secret of T.rex's fearsome snarl - Mar 19, 2012
- Tyrannosaurus Rex Cannibal Instincts Discovered - Oct 18, 2010
Tags: beijing china, bozeman montana, distinctive types, fearsome predators, jack horner, japan report, massive legs, museum of natural sciences, museum of the rockies, museum of the rockies in bozeman, new scientist, park meat, puny arms, t rex, thomas holtz, tyrannosaur, tyrannosaurus rex, university of maryland at college park, vertebrate palaeontology, watabe