NEW HAVEN, Conn., Oct. 15 (UPI) — The king of the dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex, didn’t just have an appetite for other dinosaurs — it was happy to eat its own kind, U.S. paleontologists say.
Yale University researcher Nick Longrich was examining dinosaur bones for mammal tooth marks when he discovered a bone with exceptionally large gouges that could only have been made by T. rex — but the bone in question was also from T. rex, a university release said Friday.
“They’re the kind of marks that any big carnivore could have made, but T. rex was the only big carnivore in western North America 65 million years ago,” Longrich said.
More searching through several different museum fossil collections turned up more T. rex bones with T. rex bite marks, he said.
“It’s surprising how frequent it appears to have been,” Longrich said. “We’re not exactly sure what that means.”
The marks are definitely the result of feeding, although scientists aren’t sure whether they are the result of scavenging or the end result of fighting, Longrich said.
If two T. rex fought to the death, he said, the victor might have made a meal out of its adversary.
“Modern big carnivores do this all the time,” Longrich said. “It’s a convenient way to take out the competition and get a bit of food at the same time.”
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