April 22, 2021 | David F. Coppedge

Mass Burial of Tyrannosaurs Misinterpreted

The secular scientists say that scattered bones of five tyrannosaurs that died together proves that they were “gregarious.”

Evolutionary theory has a way of blinding researchers from their common sense. Scientists found scattered bones of large, heavy predators that perished simultaneously in what was apparently a mass death by flooding. Conclusion? Tyrannosaurs were “social animals.”

Fearsome Tyrannosaurs Were Social Animals, Study Suggests (Bob Whitby for Arkansas Research). A team from the University of Arkansas investigated bones found at a quarry in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.

“Localities [like Rainbows and Unicorns Quarry] that produce insights into the possible behavior of extinct animals are especially rare, and difficult to interpret,” said tyrannosaur expert Philip Currie in a press release from the BLM. “Traditional excavation techniques, supplemented by the analysis of rare earth elements, stable isotopes and charcoal concentrations convincingly show a synchronous death event at the Rainbows site of four or five tyrannosaurids. Undoubtedly, this group died together, which adds to a growing body of evidence that tyrannosaurids were capable of interacting as gregarious packs.”

That is a non-sequitur. That they died together does not mean that they lived together. They could have been lone hunters showing up at the watering hole when a flood came. Look what the burial evidence shows:

“We realized right away this site could potentially be used to test the social tyrannosaur idea. Unfortunately, the site’s ancient history is complicated,” Titus said. “With bones appearing to have been exhumed and reburied by the action of a river, the original context within which they lay has been destroyed. However, all has not been lost.” As the details of the site’s history emerged, the research team concluded that the tyrannosaurs died together during a seasonal flooding event that washed their carcasses into a lake, where they sat, largely undisturbed until the river later churned its way through the bone bed.

How often does a “seasonal flooding event” bury large, heavy animals? Floods can sweep animals together into channels even if they weren’t together when the flood started. And even if their carcasses were washed into a lake, it doesn’t mean that they would be buried and fossilized. Large carcasses normally decompose or are devoured by scavengers. If this had been a “seasonal flood” that occurred during millions of years of dinosaur life, there should be billions of dinosaur carcasses in the bone bed from millions of seasonal floods.

After all, if tyrannosaurs lived for millions of years, there should have been huge numbers of them. New Scientist reports that Charles Marshall of UC Berkeley calculated the number: “A total of 2.5 billion Tyrannosaurus rex probably existed during the lifespan of the species,” he and his colleagues estimated for the 4 million Darwin Years of their assumed evolutionary heyday.

Tyrannosaur at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center. Photo by David Coppedge. How often do beasts this large get buried in a “seasonal flood”?

Look what else was buried with the dinosaurs:

In addition to tyrannosaurs, the site has also yielded seven species of turtles, multiple fish and ray species, two other kinds of dinosaurs, and a nearly complete skeleton of a juvenile (12-foot-long) Deinosuchus alligator, although they do not appear to have all died together like the tyrannosaurs.

They don’t say why it doesn’t “appear” they all died together. Why not say (consistent with their fuzzy interpretation) that the site indicates that tyrannosaurs socialized with fish and turtles? How crazy can the story get? These fossil hunters just cannot let go of their “social dinosaur” scenario.

Based on findings at a site in Alberta, Canada, with over 12 individuals, the idea that tyrannosaurs were social with complex hunting strategies was first formulated by Philip Currie over 20 years ago. This idea has been widely debated, with many scientists doubting the giant killing machines had the brainpower to organize into anything more complex than what is observed in modern crocodiles. Because the Canadian site appeared to be an isolated case, skeptics claimed it represented unusual circumstances that did not reflect normal tyrannosaur behavior. Discovery of a second tyrannosaur mass death site in Montana again raised the possibility of social tyrannosaurs, but this site was still not widely accepted by the scientific community as evidence for social behavior. The researcher’s findings at the Unicorns and Rainbows Quarry provides even more compelling evidence that tyrannosaurs may have habitually lived in groups. 

Why not consider the possibility that all these mass-kill sites were caused by the same water catastrophe?

The coverage in Phys.org echoes the crazy “social dinosaur” interpretation, and also takes the opportunity to bash President Trump for reducing the size of the national monument to give federal lands back to state control. Who says that fossil preservation requires a federal national monument? (another non-sequitur). All those fossils were available long before President Clinton made the Grand Staircase a national monument with the stroke of a pen, and before President Obama created the Bears Ears national monument with the stroke of a pen. In the mainstream media, Trump just couldn’t do anything right.

More than ever before, one needs to read the news with discernment.



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