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Proc Biol Sci. 2003 Apr 7;270(1516):731-3.

Could Tyrannosaurus rex have been a scavenger rather than a predator? An energetics approach.

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  • 1Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK.


Arguments on whether Tyrannosaurus rex was likely to have been an active predator or a scavenger have been based on evidence from jaw morphology and/or dentition. Here, we adopt an entirely novel approach, using energetic arguments to estimate the minimum productivity that would be required for an ecosystem to support a scavenger of the size of T. rex. We argue that an ecosystem as productive as the current Serengeti would provide sufficient carrion for such a scavenger. Hence, T. rex need not have been an active predator and could have found sufficient food purely by scavenging.

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