T. rex, O.G.

Dinosaur paleobiologist Dr. Philip J. Currie has news for you in case the terrifying Tyrannosaurus rex fossils at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science haven’t already ripped their way into your nightmares: The T. rex may have been much, much smarter than previously believed and most likely hunted in tyrannical packs numbering in the dozens.

“This is a very, very specialized carnivorous dinosaur, living right at the end of the Cretaceous period, and fossils suggest it had extraordinary vision and depth of field perception, highly evolved senses, and immense brain capacity,” says Currie, who brings his Dino Gangs presentation to the DMNS tonight. “When you add these hypotheses about its behavioral and social traits into all that, it really was a very terrifying animal.”

Currie notes that recently uncovered bone beds have been discovered with as many as 68 of the dino gangsters in one place. “We now think that they may have coalesced into hunting packs when the big duck-billed herbivorous dinosaurs were moving through the region, so that they could break up the structure of some of those herds and be able to get meat out of them. Of course it gets wildly speculative as you start looking at the whole thing — it’s a lot of fun and a great mental exercise — but the hard-core proof for us is that we now have several bone beds that suggest that these dinosaurs were packing.”

Currie will present Dino Gangs at 7 p.m. at the DMNS, 2001 Colorado Boulevard; for tickets, $8 to $12, go to www.dmns.org or call 303-370-6000.
Wed., Oct. 5, 7 p.m., 2011


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