Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tooth truth

I wasn't aware that it has been a long-debated question whether the Tyrannosaurus rex was a hunter of live prey or – as suggested by its bulky body size and enlarged smell receptors – that it was a scavenger that fed off the kills of other dinosaurs. But a team of scientists led by David Burnham of the University of Kansas and Robert DePalma of the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History have just revealed definitive proof that the Cretaceous beast was engaged in predatory behavior. Discovered in 2010 in ancient sediments of the Hell Creek Formation in Harding County, South Dakota, were the tail bones of a 70-million-year-old duck-billed hadrosaur called Edmontosaurus annectens. Embedded within 2 of the fused vertebrae was the crown of a T. rex tooth and signs that the herbivore had survived the attack by years (CT SCAN HERE). Whether or not it was very effective, T. Rex indeed fought for its food. Says team member Bruce Rothschild, a palaeopathologist at the University of Kansas, “It’s a smoking gun. We finally have Tyrannosaurus rex caught in the act.”


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