Wednesday, July 17, 2013

And One Got Away

Picture the scene.  The edge of a forest opening onto a lush plain.  Grasses blowing in a light breeze.  A large duck-billed creature grazing slowing along a stream. And then the attack.  A fierce predator bears down on the gentle giant.  Out of the forest bursts the mighty Tyrannosauarus rex, 40 feet of muscle and jaw pounding forward.  This powerful predator could tear 500 pounds of flesh in a single bite.  The  Hadrosaurus takes flight.  The chase is on.  The smaller Hadrosaurus has neither armor nor weapon for defense.  T. Rex dives for the kill.  Hadrosaurus cuts to the side just as T. Rex's jaw snaps shut.  On this day, Hadrosaurus is lucky.  Only a flesh wound , and a T. Rex tooth lodged deep in the tail.  70 Million years later the tooth is still there, fossilized within a bony growth showing that Hadrosaurus survived.  All of this is revealed in an excavation from the sandstones of South Dakota.  This new evidence is compelling. It is the first demonstration of T. Rex as prey-slayer.  The research team can easily imagine the failed kill.   T. Rex had been thought to be a carrion scavenger.  Not any more.

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