When you think of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, you tend to think of the giant prehistoric predator going up against equally terrifying beasts in primal conflict. Sad, then, that scientists now think that he was a bully, picking on smaller dinosaurs.

A recent study carried out between China's Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing and Germany's Bavarian State Collection for Palaeontology and Geology in Munich has discovered that it's very likely that the preferred diet of a T Rex was actually baby dinosaurs, possibly swallowed whole. This, the researchers argue, may account for the lack of fossils of younger dinos:

We conclude that, like modern predators, theropods preferentially hunted and ate juvenile animals leading to the absence of small, and especially young, dinosaurs in the fossil record... The traditional view of large theropods hunting the adults of large or giant dinosaur species is therefore considered unlikely and such events rare.

David Hone, of the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology, says that the scant evidence supports the theory:


Although there are few records, where we do have the bones of prey species preserved in the stomachs of carnivorous dinosaurs they are from juveniles.

So, thanks, science. Now we've had the pleasant fantasy of our dinosaur cousins ruined once and for all. What's next? Proving that the Easter Bunny is really a squirrel with a drug problem?

Jurassic bully: Pick on someone your own size... [Independent.co.uk]