According to a recent study, tyrannosaurs also engaged in acts of cannibalism when there wasn’t enough food.
The scientists analyzed the skull of a young tyrannosaur and found signs of being bitten and eaten by other, bigger dinosaurs, most likely belonging to the same species.
The studied dinosaur was a Daspletosaurus, which was closely related to the infamous T. rex, but much smaller, weighing about 500 kilograms, said the paleontologists.
This is not the first time the researchers discover signs of cannibalism in tyrannosaurs.
After they analyzed the dinosaur’s skull and bones, the scientists claim that the animal received numerous wounds while being attacked by other dinosaurs, and was eaten by them after it died.
The experts detailed the findings of their new research study in the journal PeerJ.
Dr David Hone, a researcher at Queen Mary, University of London and one of the lead authors of the study, explained that the animal lived a rough life and suffered many head injuries, with some of them being life threatening.
According to Dr. Hone, the dinosaur was attacked by another member of its species, which suggests that they fought frequently and viciously.
The dinosaur involved in the study was probably 6 m long and its bones were discovered in 1994 in a quarry from Alberta, Canada.
The animal’s skull, which is displayed in the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Alberta, shows many signs of injuries described in detail by Dr. Hone and Darren Tanke, a senior technician working for the museum.
Although not all the animal’s injuries were caused by bites, many of them match the teeth shape of the T. rex.
The researchers said that the bones show evidence of healing, meaning that the young Daspletosaurus survived some of the vicious attacks.
The scientists could not determine the animal’s precise cause of death, but some bite marks found on its jaw suggest that the dinosaur had also been bitten while it was decaying.
This fact suggests that another larger tyrannosaur scavenged the young Daspletosaurus.
Previous studies have shown that Tyrannosaurus rex engaged in acts of cannibalism and experts believe it could be the same kind of act that led to the Daspletosaurus’s death.
The scientists found bite marks on the animal’s skull that was 55 cm long.
Daspletosaurus means “frightful lizard” and according to the experts, it lived more than 75 million years in North Canada, more than 10 million years before its bigger and more ferocious cousin the T rex.
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