Evolution Intelligent Design

Researchers: There were billions of T Rexes

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That sounds odd if they were apex predators but here is the reasoning:

With fossils few and far between, paleontologists have shied away from estimating the size of extinct populations. But UC Berkeley scientists decided to try, focusing on the North American predator T. rex. Using data from the latest fossil analyses, they concluded that some 20,000 adults likely roamed the continent at any one time, from Mexico to Canada. The species survived for perhaps 2.5 million years, which means that about 2.5 billion lived and died overall.

University of California – Berkeley, “How many T. rexes were there? Billions” at ScienceDaily

Give or take “a factor of 10,” we are told.

The UC Berkeley scientists mined the scientific literature and the expertise of colleagues for data they used to estimate that the likely age at sexual maturity of a T. rex was 15.5 years; its maximum lifespan was probably into its late 20s; and its average body mass as an adult — its so-called ecological body mass, — was about 5,200 kilograms, or 5.2 tons. They also used data on how quickly T. rexes grew over their life span: They had a growth spurt around sexual maturity and could grow to weigh about 7,000 kilograms, or 7 tons.

From these estimates, they also calculated that each generation lasted about 19 years, and that the average population density was about one dinosaur for every 100 square kilometers.

Then, estimating that the total geographic range of T. rex was about 2.3 million square kilometers, and that the species survived for roughly 2 1/2 million years, they calculated a standing population size of 20,000. Over a total of about 127,000 generations that the species lived, that translates to about 2.5 billion individuals overall.

With such a large number of post-juvenile dinosaurs over the history of the species, not to mention the juveniles that were presumably more numerous, where did all those bones go? What proportion of these individuals have been discovered by paleontologists? To date, fewer than 100 T. rex individuals have been found, many represented by a single fossilized bone.

“There are about 32 relatively well-preserved, post-juvenile T. rexes in public museums today,” he said. “Of all the post-juvenile adults that ever lived, this means we have about one in 80 million of them.” University of California – Berkeley, “How many T. rexes were there? Billions” at ScienceDaily

It’s anyone’s guess how much of this will hold up, but positing some numbers to dispute is a worthwhile effort at sleuthing.

The paper is open access.

Dino tales:

One Reply to “Researchers: There were billions of T Rexes

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Well, 20k at one time is pretty sparse. That’s about the same as the number of cities and towns in the continent now. Each T rex would dominate 100 square miles.

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