A mass Tyrannosaurus rex grave confirms that they hunted in packs

A collection of T. rex fossils all found in one spot likely died together in a flood

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Sue, a reconstructed T. rex skeleton, at the Field Museum in Chicago

JJxFile via Wikimedia

New archaeological discoveries and improvements in our technology make it even easier to peek into the lives of Tyrannosaurus rex, the apex predator that roamed the earth more than 60 million years ago. Based on the size of their skulls, many paleontologists didn't think the T. rex was capable of complex behavior. Many were doubtful that T. rex lived or hunted in groups. But a new study of fossils preserved in a Utah quarry suggests that T. rex was indeed social. Researchers assessed a T. rex mass death site, the first of its kind.

In July 2014, the researchers explored the Rainbows and Unicorns Quarry in Utah. To their surprise, they found many fossilized T. rex specimens across a hectare of land. An analysis of the ancient landscape and erosion patterns revealed that the bones had been disturbed by river flooding, and so the researchers were challenged to prove the fossils weren't just brought together by the river.

The researchers looked at the chemical composition of these samples. If the dinosaurs died together, they predicted that they would find similar amounts of chemical elements in the fossils. After conducting their analysis, they verified that the fossils were created in the same environment, at the same time. Likely, this group of T. rex fell victim to flooding on the river.

With many other fossils buried in the quarry, this may be the first of many fascinating discoveries to come.