We may frown upon the Donner Party for their reaction to extreme hunger, but as new research shows, the Tyrannosaurus Rex might have been more than comfortable with eating its own kind.
Matthew McLain, a paleontologist from Loma Linda University, recently found bone fossils that show cut marks on a T-Rex that could only be attributed to another bi-ped dinosaur, according to ZMEScience.com. Because of the length of the cut marks, McLain believes the injuries can only be attributed to another T-Rex.
This isn’t the first time that scientists have suspected cannibalism among T-Rexes. In 2010, Paleontologist Nicholas Longrich also found bones that indicated a scuffle between the dinosaurs. Earlier this year, David Hone of the University of London found a T-Rex skull that had several bite marks. The puncture wounds indicate that a T-Rex chomped down on a fellow dinosaur, and it was continuously bitten after it died.
Animals and Cannibalism
We might get a little squirmy at the thought of humans eating other humans, but let’s back up for a moment and take a look at how the animal kingdom handles cannibalism. Typically, it’s “survival of the fittest” out there, which means there isn’t much time for squirming. Here are some examples of cannibalism in the wild:
- Baby sharks. Developing embryos will feed on unfertilized eggs within a shark’s womb.
- Chickens. It’s not uncommon for chickens to peck each other to death as a result of their own social hierarchy. As the animals strive for resources, such as food and water, the tension becomes real.
- Chimpanzees. Chimps are known to kill and eat their own babies. Scientists cannot determine if it’s due to overcrowding or male dominance.
- Hamsters. A mother may eat her young for a number of reasons. If she thinks they are attracting predators, they’ll be eaten. If she assumes that they’re crowding her personal space, they’re dinner. In short, you wouldn’t want to be a baby hamster.
- Salamanders. Salamanders have actually evolved to outlive their own species. They may need to kill their own kind when resources start to dry up. In turn, they’ve developed large jaws and teeth to munch on other salamanders.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should go all Hannibal Lecter on your friends and family. However, cannibalism may actually be a natural occurrence — at least in the wild. Perhaps this will make it a less cringe-worthy topic of discussion, even when it’s about the T-Rex.
Longrich, Nicolas. “Cannibalism in Tyrannosaurus Rex.” PLoS One. October 15, 2010.
Puiu, Tibi. “New evidence that T-Rex was indeed a cannibal.” ZME Science. November 4, 2015.
“Tastes Like Chicken: 8 Animal Cannibals.” Animal Planet. Retrieved November 5, 2015.