People Want to Know: Was Tyrannosaurus Rex a Hunter or Scavenger?
One of the questions most commonly asked about one of the world’s most beloved dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus Rex, is whether or not it was a hunter or scavenger. While there are a number of different viewpoints on the issue, the general consensus when answering the question “was Tyrannosaurus Rex a hunter or scavenger” tends to be that T-Rex was most likely both a hunter and a scavenger.
Was Tyrannosaurus Rex a Hunter or Scavenger? Wasn’t Tyrannosaurus Too Big to Catch Prey?
One of the most common arguments against Tyrannosaurus Rex being an active hunter is that it was simply too big and too slow to catch up with prey items. The fact that T-Rex was a slow and lumbering creature is actually a common misconception. Certainly this considerable creature could not have outrun Gallimimus, but it wasn’t known for running at a snail’s pace either. Research finds that many of the bones of Tyrannosaurus Rex were actually hollow and honeycombed leading to a lighter frame and a faster running speed. Current estimates believe that this Jurassic beast was capable of running at speeds of around 25 MPH. The body of the Tyrannosaurus Rex was built for hunting supporting that this carnivore was an active hunter.
What Stopped Tyrannosaurus Rex From Just Scavenging?
Many dinosaur lovers question why the Tyrannosaurus Rex wouldn’t have just been a scavenger because it was easier. Preying on carcasses that something else had expended the energy to kill would certainly have meant less energy expansion for T-Rex but it also came with its own perils.
One of the biggest concern when scavenging on existing kills would be the presence of competition. There is the competition from whatever made the kill in the first place as well as competition from other scavengers. If one T-Rex smelled the kill then it is very likely that others did too and this could lead to dangerous confrontation that could lead to injury or death.
Lack of Food
Lack of food would also have been a significant concern for a scavenger only Tyrannosaurus Rex. Despite the number of carcasses that may be out there, the T-Rex requires a significant amount of meat to sustain it’s body mass and energy levels. While there is no doubt that herbivores greatly outnumbered carnivores, there were still simply too many large carnivores around for Tyrannosaurus Rex to have survived on scavenging alone.
Would this 7.2 ton beast have passed up a free carcass? No, but in a time of so many large carnivores free meals didn’t come about often enough to sustain the Tyrannosaurus population.
Was Tyrannosaurus Rex a Hunter or Scavenger? The Answer is Both Hunter and Scavenger
Evidence supports the fact that Tyrannosaurus Rex was both a hunter and a scavenger but in the grand scheme of things it was far more of an active hunter than it was a scavenger.
So ask no more “was Tyrannosaurus Rex a hunter or scavenger” !