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Fossilized bone hints to Tyrannosaurus Rex cannibalism after a recent discovery of the 66 million year-old bone with teeth marks was made. The fossil, a bone belonging to a Tyrannosaurus Rex, was unearthed during an archeological digging expedition in the Lance Formation in Wyoming.
While digging up bones, the researchers came across a tyrannosaur bone that had been broken at both ends and contained deep grooves that appear to be teeth marks. The fact that one larger groove on the larger end of the bone has parallel smaller grooves on the side suggests that the creature who left the marks had serrated teeth which left marks across the bone when the creature moved its head.
There are a total of ten marks on the fossil, all of different sizes, with the largest one found to be as wide as 0.1 inches or 5 millimeters across. These unique marks and the suggestion that the creature responsible for making them had serrated teeth have narrowed down the range of ancient predators who could have left them on the bone.
The newly found knowledge has helped scientists form a smaller group of animals that could have made a bite of this size and shape. Although the research team that discovered the bone first thought that a prehistoric crocodile may have made the bite, but the aquatic reptiles did not have the serrated teeth responsible for the smaller, parallel grooves discovered on the bone.
This made them come to the conclusion that therapods, which were meat-eating two-legged dinasours and did have saw-like teeth, were most likely the ones that had left the mark on the bone.
Matthew MacLain, a paleontologists working at the Loma Linda University stated that the fossil is unique in that the bone does not only contain one bite mark. There were several tooth scores on the surface of the bone, which implies that the creature which made the grooves did not only make one bite, but dragged its teeth on the bone several times. This information gives scientists certainty that the animal who made the marks belonged to the therapod group.
The amazing conclusion that this discovery leads to goes further, though, because of the place in which the bone was found. The only therapods of that size living in the Lance Formation at that time were two tyrannosaurus species, one being the Tyrannosaurus rex, the other the Nanotyrannus lancensis. Either of the species could have left the cannibalistic marks which the bone possesses because it was chewed on by a predator.
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