Tyrannosaurus rex : the cannibal
Tyrannosaurus rex’s reputation as a cold blooded killer just got worse – the prehistoric predators feasted on each other, scientists believe.
The seven tonne monsters, which at 13 feet tall and 40 feet long were the largest land predators to ever to stalk the earth, were cannibals, a new study has found.
Paleontologists noticed bite marks on the bones of the dinosaurs, and on examining the huge gouges realised T. rex was the only carnivore large enough to have caused them.
Scientists are sure that the marks were caused by feeding rather than combat, although it is not clear whether the carcass was scavenged or devoured after a clash with another T. rex 65 million years ago.
Please take note in the article’s date: 15th of October, 2010. Why am I bringing this article up then? Well, it’s cool! Combat is noted though. Sue is one of my favourite dinosaurs, and she happens to be a Tyrannosaurus rex. She’s truly amazing, and what’s even better is that her wounds are so beautifully preserved. On the right side of her ribcage, there’s some amazing exostoses (extra bone growth) which was
kind of healing after an accident. If I remember correctly, I watched/read about how they possibly found part of a T. rex tooth inside the exostosis, which would lead to the thought of it being from combat (someone correct me if I’m wrong because I can’t remember when/where I heard this).
Poor Sue had a lot of problems, including arthritis-looking wounds on her tail, her left fibula healed over from an impact most likely done by a club-tailed dinosaur like Ankylosaurus, infections on her jaw, etc. She lived to be 28 years old, which is the oldest we’ve ever seen for a Tyrannosaurus. Anyway, her skeleton has helped us in so many possible ways into unearthing the lives of these amazing creatures, and with Sue’s skeleton plus other evidence, we can discover how brutal life must have been during the Late Cretaceous Period.
If you’d like to read the paper published about T. rex cannibalism, just go to PLoS ONE: Cannibalism in Tyrannosaurus rex. As well, you may want to check out PLoS ONE: Common Avian Infection Plagued the Tyrant DInosaurs, and PLoS ONE: A Computational Analysis of Limb and Body Dimensions in Tyrannosaurus rex with Implications for Locomotion, Ontogeny, and Growth. They are free to read and download as it is open access.