"Mighty" T. Rex Mostly Picked Off Youngsters?

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The researchers then looked at studies of adult bones not found in the guts of fossil predators but known to be prey species.

Those fossils also rarely had bite marks, which would be signs that predators had used their teeth to scrape away meat or gnaw at the bones.

In some cases, injuries that had been inflicted by carnivores showed signs that the wounds had healed, suggesting that the adult dinosaur had been attacked but not killed.

Hone and Rauhut therefore think that T. Rex and its meat-eating kin hunted like modern predators, which selectively attack vulnerable and inexperienced juveniles.

If youngsters were indeed at the top of the predatory menu, that might explain why so few juvenile dinosaur bones have been found so far, the researchers added.

T. rex vs. Triceratops

Thomas Holtz, a paleontologist at the University of Maryland, agrees that predatory dinosaurs' feeding behaviors have been long overdue for a critical eye.

"There hadn't been much quantitative thinking about the battles between T. rex vs. Triceratops," said Holtz, who was not involved in the new study.

"We've all always been intrigued by the [T. rex's] large size, but [this research] is reeling us in and orienting us toward their day-to-day feeding rather than the extreme hunting featured on the Discovery Channel," he said.

"Sure, those big battles did happen, but this work suggests not very often."

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