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T-Rex was Tool User

Peter Larson of the Black Hills Institute of GeologicalResearch in Hill City, South Dakota, whose group first found ?Sue,? the most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton yet discovered, has announced that she could not have survived into old age without "complex social behaviour such as spousal care."

?Sue? had suffered fractures to the right and left rib cages due to traumatic body blows. She had jaw infections, and healed arm and leg infections. Bony growths on her vertebra revealed that she also had back trouble.

"The maturity of the specimen and the clear evidence of healing indicate that Sue was a robust individual who survived many insults," says Elizabeth Rega of the Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, who was a member of the team that conducted a post-mortem on Sue after her bones were removed from the rock that encased them.

Toward the end of her life, according to John Bears Fortipton of Case Western University, ?Sue used an 11 meter long cane to get around, and apparently the tiny forelegs of T-Rex were adapted to this and other tool use.? A number of enormous fossilized shillelagh-like canes were removed from the stone that encased Sue. According to Dr. Fortipton, ?she would have achieved some locomotion with her canes, but would still have required spousal care.?

Dr. Rebecca Neff at Berkeley disagrees. ?These objects were probably used to knock small dinosaurs out of trees, or in disputes related to the mating process,? she says.

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