Quirks & Quarks

Tyrannosaur Cannibals

Tooth marks on a Tyrannosaur skull indicate violent battles during life, and cannibalism after death

Fossils reveal that Tyrannosaurs fought and ate each other

Artist's conception of two Daspletosaurs in combat. (copyright Luis Rey)
The mighty Daspletosaurus was a huge bipedal predator, only a little smaller than Tyrannosaurus Rex, preceding its bigger cousin by just a few million years. And Daspletosaurus likely had nothing to fear in the late Cretaceous when it was the top predator - except other Daspletosaurs.

Dr. David Hone, a paleontologist and lecturer in Zoology at Queen Mary, University of London, has been studying scarring on the skull of a Daspletosaurus fossil found in Alberta's Dinosaur Provincial Park. He and his colleague, Darren Tanke, concluded that these scars were the result of bites from other Daspletosaurs.

Some of these bites were partially healed, suggesting they were the results of fierce battles during the creature's life. Others were clearly post-mortem injuries, probably inflicted by a scavenging cannibal dinosaur.

Related Links

Paper in PeerJ
- Dr. Hone's blog
- Queen Mary, University of London release 
- PeerJ blog
- CBC News story