De Palma et al., PNAS, 2013.
Was Tyrannosaurus rex a fierce hunter or an adept scavenger?
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.
Science has been wishy-washy about the Rexmeister. We know the beast ate meat. But how, exactly? First T. rex was a wild-eyed hunter that killed like a lion. Then "T" was a mild-mannered connoisseur of carrion—an overgrown vulture, really. Well, which was it?
Enter David Burnham from the University of Kansas. He unearthed a scientific morsel in South Dakota that sets the menu straight: A T. rex tooth embedded in the tail of a fossil hadrosaur! One that was alive when it was attacked, and survived! But how does Burnham know this? The chomper is surrounded by healed bone. In fact, the victim may have lived for years after the incident. The tooth's location also speaks volumes. See a T. rex a-comin’? Turn tail and run! Looks like ole 'Rex gave chase, and got in a nibble. But ultimately lost dinner—and a pearly white.
But, hey! He got his bad-boy reputation back! Sorry about those pudgy little arms, though. Easy, boy!
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