Paleontology

Tyrannosaurus Rex



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Many speculated that Tyrannosaurus Rex couldn't have chased down its prey because it was possibly too slow. Paleontologists made this speculation because T-Rex's leg seemed relatively small compared to its body size. Many others believed that T-Rex couldn't have been the ultimate predator because it had front limbs about only two feet long. They believed that T-Rex couldn't have hunted prey using its head alone because many predatory dinosaurs that came before it, like Allosaurus, Utahraptor, and Giganotosaurus, also had use for its front limbs. Some paleontologists also speculated it had small eyes, which they believed wasn't good for hunting prey. Probably the most effective proof that Tyrannosaurus Rex could've been a scavenger was the traits in a scavenger. Scavengers, like vultures (which unlike other birds, had a good sense of smell) and even hyenas, have a good sense of smell and a way to get around easily. Vultures could fly and hyenas could easily have ran toward the carcass with speed, not great speed but fast enough to get it their quickly. T-Rex has every one of those traits. Cat-scans showed that T-Rex had a large olfactory bulb, which meant it had an excellent sense of smell. It also could get around easily without fear of being ambushed itself.

Although there are many proofs of T-Rex being a scavenger, there are many evidences that "say" it was a fearsome predator, as well. Cat-scans not only revealed that Tyrannosaurus Rex had a large olfactory lobe, it also revealed that it had a large occipital lobe, as well. A large occipital lobe meant that T-Rex possibly had binocular vision. Many scientists say that small eyes signify bad vision. However, Paleontologist James Kirkland easily disproved that theory. Hawks and other birds of prey today have small eyes, yet they have a keen eyesight. He also reasoned that raptors, such as Deinonychus, had small eyes but had excellent vision, even supposedly night-vision. So, small eyes didn't necessarily mean bad vision.

In recent times, discoveries of healed bite marks from a T. Rex's gave another proof that T. Rex was most likely a hunter. Although T. Rex's speed is unarguable pretty slow for a theropod dinosaur, paleontologists like Dr. Phillip Currie observed and speculated that many herbivores of the Late Cretaceous, like Ankylosaurus and Torosaurus (which were heavily armored), couldn't run faster than T. Rex with fairly large features on them.

So, was Tyrannosaurus Rex the fearsome predator we all really picture in our heads and what we see in movies like Jurassic Park? Or was he a "lowly" scavenger that scared off other dinosaurs because of its size and ate off the kills of others? We may never know. Paleontologists can only speculate so much, and fossils never reveal the true story.

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