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The Truth About Tyrannosaurus Rex
For a long time, people believed that Tyrannosaurus rex (often called T. rex) was a fierce predator who had no problem killing its prey.
Then a paleontologist (a scientist who studies fossils) named Jack Horner wondered if T. rex was not really a predator at all. He thought this mighty dinosaur might have been a scavenger. Here are some of his reasons:
• Fossils suggest that T. rex was too slow and clumsy to be a good predator. Other dinosaurs would find it easy to escape from a T. rex.
• A predator needs strong front legs with sharp claws to catch prey. T. rex’s front legs were very small and had no claws.
• From studying fossils, paleontologists found evidence that T. rex had an excellent sense of smell. Scavengers usually have a great sense of smell, which helps them sniff out dead animals to eat.
Many paleontologists disagreed with the idea that T. rex was a scavenger. They used the following points to support their opinion:
• Dinosaur predators ate their prey quickly. Most of the time, they would have eaten their prey before a T. rex arrived on the scene. A T. rex would have had trouble finding enough food as a scavenger.
• T. rex did not need strong front legs with claws. It had a huge mouth with sharp teeth and powerful jaws to kill prey.
• Predators need a great sense of smell to track down their prey.
Was T. rex a scavenger or a predator? Could fossils answer the question? It turned out that they did. Paleontologists found a fossil of a dinosaur tail that had a broken T. rex tooth in it. Had the T. rex bitten the dinosaur’s tail when the dinosaur was still alive? If so, this would prove that T. rex was a predator, not a scavenger. Then the paleontologists saw that the dinosaur’s tail bones had started to heal from the T. rex bite. This healing would not have happened if the dinosaur were dead when T. rex bit it. The fossil provided evidence that T. rex was a predator.
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1. What is the difference between a predator and a scavenger?CorrectIncorrect
2. The T. rex had bitten the dinosaur’s tail while the dinosaur was still alive.
Why is this evidence that T. rex was not a scavenger?CorrectIncorrect
3. Compare how predators and scavengers use their sense of smell.
Great answer!Great answer!
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4. Fill in the blank using information from the text.
A scientist who studies fossils is a .
5. What does a predator need to catch prey?CorrectIncorrect