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Healed scars tag T. rex as predator

11:23am, October 27, 2003

From St. Paul, Minn., at a meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology

Although Tyrannosaurus rex has a reputation as a fierce predator, the evidence to back up that notoriety has been both rare and debatable. Now, a fossil Triceratops skull with healed bone scars may compel paleontologists to give T. rex its due.

Previously, all of the gnaw marks on bones that have positively identified T. rex as the chewer have shown no sign of healing, says John W. Happ of Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. It's impossible to tell whether those traces are signs of predation or scavenging. A healed wound would indicate that the intended victim got away from a predator, Happ notes.

The partial skull of a large adult Triceratops unearthed in Montana in 1997 has several wounds that probably were inflicted by a T. rex, says Happ. All of the wounds show signs of infection and healing, an indication that the

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