sábado, marzo 27, 2004


At a lofty five metres tall and a whopping five tonnes in weight, Tarbosaurus was monstrously large. But Tarbosaurus was relatively light on its feet, despite its size. It probably used its long, powerful legs to sprint across the Mongolian desert after prey.
There were not many dinosaurs around at the time capable of taking on Tarbosaurus. The dinosaur may have stalked the lightly wooded areas on the desert outskirts, searching for vulnerable, lone dinosaurs or lying in wait for other animals to approach it.
Once a suitable victim had been spotted, Tarbosaurus would have made an explosive run for its prey. The dinosaur may have tried to exhaust its prey before using its powerful jaws to sink its sharp teeth into the other animal.
Tarbosaurus' victims could at least take comfort in the knowledge that death would be swift. Tarbosaurus would then dissect the corpse, removing as much meat as possible before leaving the body to other scavengers.
Tarbosaurus may have hunted dinosaurs that were almost as large as itself (such as Saurolophus) although gigantic dinosaurs such as Therizinosaurus may have been too large for it to handle.
The metabolism of Tarbosaurus means that it probably only needed to eat once every two or three weeks although, like any animal, it would have taken advantage of any opportunity that came its way.
Tarbosaurus had a good sense of smell, which may have played a role in locating its food or in detecting the scent of a rival or potential mate. It may have roamed over a moderately wide area in search of food or a sexual partner.
Like, Tyrannosaurus, its American cousin, Tarbosaurus would have been a dinosaur to avoid in the Mongolian Late Cretaceous.
The Evidence
Tarbosaurus was first described in 1955 after the remains of at least seven individuals were recovered in China by a Russian fossil collecting expedition. Since then, the bones from about thirty individuals have been found.
The skeleton of Tarbosaurus is near identical to that of Tyrannosaurus and some paleontologists have argued as to whether Tarbosaurus should be renamed as a species of Tyrannosaurus. However, there are sufficient differences between the skulls of these two animals to warrant giving them two separate names.
In Mongolia the remains of Tarbosaurus are commonly found in rocks that were laid down in wet environments with lots of vegetation, suggesting that it preferred to live and hunt in wooded regions. However, Tarbosaurus remains have also been recovered from the fossilised sand dunes of Mongolia's Nemegt Formation suggesting that it was capable of surviving in drier and arid desert environments.
From the outset it was obvious to scientists that Tarbosaurus would have been an active meat-eating dinosaur. Tarbosaurus' sense of smell was especially well-developed.
Whilst this would undoubtedly have helped it find its prey, it has also been suggested that both Tyrannosaurus and Tarbosaurus were scavengers and may have used their sense of smell to find rotting carcasses.
Like many modern predators, it is probable that Tarbosaurus would have both hunted and scavenged, a strategy that would be necessary in a barren desert world where at times food would be extremely scarce.

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