One of the most ferocious animals on earth might be cannibal. The teeth marks on bone reveal nasty secret of tyrannosaurus family
Tyrannosaurus was among the most ferocious predators ever to walk on Earth. Even they were not shy about chomping down their own kind.
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Recently, a tyrannosaurus bone has been recovered in Lance Formation in Wyoming. The marks of teeth on it reveal that it could be torn apart by one of its own.
"We were out in Wyoming digging up dinosaurs in the Lance Formation," said paleontologist Matthew McLain of Loma Linda University in California. "Someone found a tyrannosaur bone that was broken at both ends. It was covered in grooves. They were very deep grooves."
The grooves clearly suggest that some animal pulled the flesh off the bone. It was done in the same way the humans used to eat a piece of chicken. But the larger end of the bone has something more striking. It contains small parallel grooves, pointing to the fact that animal turned its head when the teeth dragged across the bone.
The teeth are jagged edge so, they ruled out the possibility of crocodile taking down that dinosaur. The only large theropods found in the Lance Formation were two tyrannosauruses --Tyrannosaurus rex or Nanotyrannus lancensis, suggesting nothing except that tyrannosaurus was cannibal.
"This has to be a tyrannosaur," said McLain. "There's just nothing else that has such big teeth."
The size of the serrated teeth was the valuable clue to determine the size of the animal and also to reveal the ‘nasty little secret 66-million year old family secret.’
"It only works if you know what species it is," he said. "And since tyrannosauruses are the only large predators in these formations, it's pretty straightforward."
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Exactly which Tyrannosaurus did the eating that day – T. rex or Nanotyrannus – the same method can also help determine it. Many paleontologists believe it might be T. rex who ate the other tyrannosaurus .