Tyrannosaurs were scavengers reports New Scientist, 8 July 2010 and Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, DOI: 10.4202/app.2009.0133. Researchers have found teeth marks on the humerus (arm bone) of a Saurolophus, a large plant eating dinosaur of the Hadrosaur group. The marks “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.” None of the other bones show signs of trauma and the researchers concluded: “The lack of damage to the rest of the otherwise complete and articulated hadrosaur strongly implies that this was a scavenging event, the first reported for a tyrannosaur, and not feeding at a kill site.”

Thomas Holtz, a tyrannosaur specialist at the University of Maryland says that scavenging was an appropriate way for predators to find food. He commented: “Meat that doesn’t fight back is a lot easier to get.” The nearly complete Saurolophus was found in the Western Gobi Desert and the scientists suggest it had died in a flood and been transported and deposited in a mass of sediment leaving its left arm exposed. New Scientist notes “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. Nevertheless, palaeontologists tend to believe – as do the public, after Jurassic Park – that T. rex was an active predator.

Editorial Comment: For the last 30 years those of us in Creation Research have been saying T. Rex. and other dinosaurs portrayed as fearsome predators because of their sharp teeth, had degenerated to being scavengers. Genesis tells us all animals started out as vegetarian, but by the time of Noah’s flood some animals had become “unclean,” meaning they were associated with death and decay, i.e. scavengers. Further research on the biomechanics of T. rex has supported both John Horner and Creation Research. See “T-Rex Not Into Fast Food” in this Fact File. For a brief Biblical History of diets see “T rex Diet Question” also in this Fact File. (Use the search facility above) (Ref. dinosaurs, diet, degeneration)

Evidence News 28 July 2010