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What were the tyrannosaurs really like?

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T-rex and friends

Tyrannosaurs Rex.The sharp teeth and claws of some dinosaurs have made people think that they were mean, vicious animals. The Tyrannosaurus Rex is often pictured as a horrible killer, attacking every dinosaur in sight. But this may not be true at all.

New research suggests that the Tyrannosaurus would not be able to move very quickly. Most other dinosaurs could probably have gotten away from him easily. Fossil evidence indicates that Tyrannosaurus walked in a stooped-over (hunched) position and probably waddled like a duck.

T-Rex. Copyrighted by Films for Christ. The are other reasons to think that tyrannosaurs were not “super-killers.” Their teeth were not rooted very well and might have snapped off in any real battle. Tyrannosaurus rex’s small front legs seem far too weak for grabbing and killing large dinosaurs. In fact, they were too short to even reach his mouth.

If some of the dinosaurs we find killed by the Flood did eat meat, they were probably scavengers (like vultures) that lived off the bodies of large dead animals.

If we look at three other dinosaurs very much like Tyrannosaurus, even more problems can be seen with the idea that they were “super-killers.”

  1. Killing dinosaurs, biting through bones and tearing off hunks of meat should leave definite signs of tooth wear. Sometimes a tooth would have been broken or lost. An Albertosaurus (al-BERT-oh-SOR-us) was found with teeth that show almost no wear. The tips and delicate edge serration’s are said to be in almost perfect condition. Yet this tyrannosaur was an adult.

    Dilophosaurus. Copyrighted by Films for Christ.
  2. The Dilophosaurus (die-LOAF-oh-SOR-us) had two high, paper-thin bone crests on its head! It doesn’t seem very likely that this delicate head gear could keep from breaking off if the dinosaur made its living as a scavenger--greedily tearing into the insides of dead dinosaurs. If he was a fierce eater of live dinosaurs, the thin crests would have certainly been ruined.

  3. The Spinosaurus (SPINE-oh-SOR-us) had long, delicate spines attached to its back bone. Some of these stood straight up in the air six-and-a-half feet high--taller than most men. These spines could have been very easy to damage in a fierce fight with a heavy dinosaur.

True fierce meat-eaters are smooth and sleek, like the tiger, lion, polar bear and wolf. They don’t have any delicate spines or crests to get in their way and cause pain in a chase and fight. Perhaps the guess that tyrannosaurs were aggressive “brontosaur” killers is completely wrong.

leaves Could it be that tyrannosaurs were mostly plant-eaters, not meat-eaters? The shape of their teeth alone can’t tell us what they ate. Perhaps they used their sharp teeth and claws to tear up tough plants and fruits, not dinosaurs. Obviously sharp teeth can serve other purposes than simply cutting meat, just as kitchen knives can be used for cutting carrots as well as steaks.

Many sharp-toothed animals living today are plant-eaters and rarely (or never) eat flesh. A few of many examples include the Giant Panda, the large Australian fruit bat, and some apes and bears.

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