T Rex: Hunter Or Scavenger?

Tyrannosaurus Rex has so often been portrayed in Hollywood movies as a swift, merciless, savage hunter, and so it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the Predatory T-Rex is strictly a Hollywood invention, and may or may not bear any connection to the actual truth.

The main reason so many paleontologists–and so many Hollywood moguls–subscribe to the fearsome hunter theory is Tyrannosaurus Rex’s teeth, which were large, sharp, and extremely numerous, as well as the enormous size of Tyrannosaurus Rex itself (up to nine or 10 tons for a full-grown adult).

It seems unlikely that nature would have evolved such a huge set of choppers for a dinosaur that feasted on already dead (or dying) animals.

Nevertheless, there are also grounds to believe that T-Rex may have been a Scavenger.

T-Rex The Scavenger

There are four main strands of evidence in favor of the theory that Tyrannosaurus Rex scavenged, rather than hunted down, its food:

  • Tyrannosaurus Rex had small, weak, beady eyes, where you might expect an active predator to possess super-sharp vision.
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex had famously small, almost vestigial arms, which would have been near-useless in a close grapple with live prey. (However, these arms were only puny in proportion to the rest of T. Rex; in fact, they could bench-press 400 pounds!)
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex was none too fast, more a lumbering lummox than the sleek predator of Jurassic Park. It was once thought that this tyrannosaur could chase down prey at a blistering 40 miles per hour, but today, a relatively pokey 10 mph seems to be a better estimate.
  • Most convincing of all too many scientists, analysis of Tyrannosaurus Rex brain casts shows the presence of unusually large olfactory lobes, which would have been ideal for catching the scent of rotting carcasses from miles away.

The truth may lie somewhere between the 2 extremes, so its not surprising that its also been argued that T-Rex may have been both a Hunter and a Scavenger.

T Rex As Both Hunter & Scavenger

While the Tyrannosaurus Rex-as-scavenger theory has been surprisingly quick to catch on in the scientific community, not everyone is convinced.

In the last analysis, this may not be an either/or proposition: like other opportunistic carnivores, T. Rex may have actively hunted at some times, and at other times it may have feasted on prey that had either died of natural causes or already been pursued and killed by other, smaller dinosaurs.


The T Rex Scavenger/Predator debate is quite intriguing and so we’ve included a link to National Geogrphic’s exhaustive article on the debate which appears to support the Predator theory. However, a powerful counter-argument of the T Rex as scavenger has also been made which is well articulated in the video ‘Valley Of The T-Rex’ below.

T-Rex Scavenger debate


I’m inclined to accept that T-Rex was both a Hunter and Scavenger, depending on what happened to be the easiest way to obtain the meal of the day.

You can also check out the Documentary ‘The Last Day Of The Dinosaurs’ which gives an excellent account of the Dinosaur Mass Extinction Event.

Don’t forget to check out the latest addition to the Page, ‘Disclosure’ Africa’s Afro-futurist Lifestyle & Collective Evolution Magazine here.


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