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'The tipping point:' First T. rex mass death site in southern US, found in Utah, strengthens evidence of pack behavior

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The Tyrannosaurus rex may not have been as solitary as we believed.

In a groundbreaking discovery of the first T. rex mass death site in the southern U.S., announced Monday by the Utah Bureau of Land Management, scientists found evidence of pack-like behavior among the famous ancient predator in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 

“The new Utah site adds to the growing body of evidence showing that tyrannosaurs were complex, large predators capable of social behaviors common in many of their living relatives, the birds,” said Dr. Joe Sertich, curator of dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

“This discovery should be the tipping point for reconsidering how these top carnivores behaved and hunted across the northern hemisphere during the Cretaceous.”

"Hollywood" specimen, same species as Teratophoneus, discovered approximately two miles north of the "Rainbows and Unicorns Quarry" on Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument on February 26, 2019. BLM photo courtesy of Dr. Alan Titus.

In the past, paleontologists have long debated whether the huge dinosaurs lived and hunted alone or in groups.

However, with other findings of pack formations in Alberta, Canada, and Montana, the Utah finding may fossilize the belief of a social T. rex.

In the Canadian discovery, 12 individuals found over 20 years ago by Dr. Philip Currie, many scientists doubted T. rexes had the brainpower to organize into anything complex and thought it was an isolated case. Montana’s site built upon the social theory, but now this third site may bring more certainty to the idea.

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