Jonathan Crowe

My Correct Views on Everything

‘Hyena of the Cretaceous’

Tyrannosaurus (head detail) Brian Switek places that recent study suggesting that there were too many Tyrannosaurus in the fossil record for it to have been an apex predator in the context of an 18-year debate about Tyrannosaurus’ scavenging ways. “That Tyrannosaurus was an opportunistic carnivore that both hunted and scavenged isn’t news. Paleontologists have been saying this in response to Horner’s ‘obligate scavenging’ hypothesis for years, and Holtz specifically drew comparisons to predators like spotted hyenas. [Which primarily hunt, but also scavenge. —JC] What is noteworthy is that Horner appears to have softened his original hypothesis to the point where I was surprised that Holtz’s paper was not cited as a more direct source of support for Tyrannosaurus as an opportunistic feeder.”

Previously: Too Many Tyrannosauruses.