Audiences the world over gripped their seats as the Tyrannosaurus rex in Jurassic Park sank its teeth into velociraptors and chewed up avaricious lawyers. In spite of this portrayal, there was no hard evidence at the time that the dinosaur actually bit into anything living, and some palaeontologists have proposed that it scavenged for its meals. But now, a team has found definitive evidence that the T. rex did hunt for live prey.
The researchers found a T. rex tooth stuck between vertebrae in the tail of a herbivorous duck-billed hadrosaur. The specimen was excavated from the Hell Creek Formation, a famous fossil locality in South Dakota.
Scrapes, bites and even dislodged T. rex teeth stuck in the bones of other dinosaur species are common, but there has previously been no way to know whether these bites were made while the prey was being actively attacked by a T. rex, or whether the animal had died in some other way and then been scavenged on by the toothy dinosaur.