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Nasty T-Rex not a killer

London, June 6 (Reuters): For a century, the towering Tyrannosaurus Rex has been regarded as a savage killer marauding unchallenged across the later dinosaur era.

But new research suggests a different interpretation, casting T-Rex as little more than a scavenger, hunting out the kills of other carnivores and stealing them. “Big, nasty and stinky — that’s my idea of T-Rex. I don’t believe there is any evidence for it being a predator at all,” palaeontologist Jack Horner said in a statement.

He will be putting his theory up for public scrutiny in an exhibition at London’s Natural History Museum that will run from August 2003 to May 2004.

Horner, credited with being the inspiration for Alan Grant —played by Sam Neill — in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, argues that the monster’s forelegs were too short, its eyes too small and its speed too slow to make it a hunter.

On the other hand, like a vulture, a large part of its brain was dedicated to sensing smells and it could travel long distances.

Horner, curator of palaeontology at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana and technical adviser to Stephen Spielberg for the Jurassic Park films, argues that T-Rex used its bulk and stink to simply bully smaller dinosaurs away from their meals.

To help study his claims, the Natural History Museum will be displaying a skeleton and life-sized models of Tyrannosaurus Rex to give visitors a close-up introduction to a beast that stood five metres tall and weighed six tonnes.

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