Gnawed T-Rex Fossil Hints At Dino Cannibalism

Tyrannosaurs may have indulged in a bit of cannibalism, according to new research. The evidence comes from a fossilized t-rex bone that shows obvious signs of having been gnawed. The fossil was discovered during a dig in Wyoming; it is broken at both ends with deep grooves over its surface. Some of those grooves hold clues about their possible source, and that source is probably a fellow t-rex.

According to Loma Linda University paleontologist Matthew McLain, he and fellow researchers were on a dig when someone found the tyrannosaur fossil. The grooves on it are deep and appear to be teeth marks. In particular, a single groove proved the most intriguing, with parallel etching likely caused by the eater dragging its teeth down the length of the bone.

That groove shows the dino's teeth were serrated, meaning the attacking creature most likely was a theropod dinosaur. In Wyoming, the only large theropods were Tyrannosaurus rex and the more controversial Nanotyrannus, which may have been a juvenile t-rex or a related type of dinosaur.

The size of the teeth marks on the bone indicate the culprit was a t-rex. According to McLain, "There's just nothing else that has such big teeth." This all leaves a big question — did the t-rex die, and then another t-rex, stumbling upon the carcass, decide to have a meal? Or did one t-rex take down another with the intention of feasting?

SOURCE: Live Science