Tyrannosaurs fought and ate each other | Science News

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Tyrannosaurs fought and ate each other

Illustration of a scavenging tyrannosaur

Tyrannosaurs, shown in this artist’s illustration, both hunted for food and scavenged, which is probably how bite marks ended up on the skull of a young Daspletosaurus unearthed at Canada’s Dinosaur Provincial Park.

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The Cretaceous period was a tyrannosaur-eat-tyrannosaur world. Bite marks from before and after death scar the skull of an ancient tyrannosaur called Daspletosaurus, researchers report April 9 in PeerJ.

Paleontologists identified a fossilized skull and jaw as that of a teenage Daspletosaurus, a cousin to Tyrannosaurus rex. Some pre- and postmortem marks on the bones correspond to bite marks — big enough to come from the teeth of a Daspletosaurus or another tyrannosaur. The marks could be evidence of both combat and cannibalism, the scientists conclude.

It’s not unheard of for tyrannosaurs to fight or eat each other, but understanding the prevalence of such behavior lends insight into the extinct reptiles’ ecology.

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