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T-Rex vs Palaeo

This episode covers the battle between the biggest and most powerful land predator to ever exist against the largest land mammal and one of the most dangerous herbivores to ever walk the earth. This fight aims to point out the strengths and weaknesses of both combatants, test out their weapons, movement, and other factors that will bring forth the undisputable winner of this confrontation. 


Winner: Palaeoloxodon

In this section we will briefly explain and provide answers to the top 5 questions brought up in the comments in response to the episode.

1. "Why didn't you use the newly covered T-Rex Specimen E.D. Cope in this fight?" 


E.D. Cope (BHI 6248) or "Copium Rex" is a specimen that has sent ripples amongst the paleontological community and speculated to be a gargantuan T-rex that would redefine the maximum size of this dinosaur. This question is asked under the assumption that Cope was actually much bigger than Scotty or Sue. However more recent updates have indicated that the femur length is actually relatively short. Admittedly the 630mm circumference indicates that this T-rex was indeed much more bulkier than any T-Rex studied before. This in turn would make the T-rex slightly larger in this simulation and adding another 1.5 US tons to the Rex used in the fight. Would this change anything? Very likely not. The Palaeoloxodon in this fight (which by the way was downsized) would still be almost twice as heavy. Additionally with the recent updates on Cope's measurements we still have no evidence that Cope was considerably taller. If anything, it was more robust volume wise but not enough to significantly alter the results of the simulation. 

2. "Why wasn't the T-Rex's tail brought up and why didn't he use it in the fight simulation?"

Although not explicitly mentioned as a weapon, this body part was most definitely considered in this analysis. The tail was mentioned to serve as an auxiliary body part for balance. This is especially crucial against the Palaeoloxodon which means that if it did use this as a weapon then its balance would be compromised - not really a good idea when facing a 22 ton animal that can tip a smaller opponent over with no difficulty. Although there is no hard evidence to suggest that T-rexes didn't use their tails as weapons, there are more reasons why NOT using their tails is more viable. The T-rex's tail was not particularly tipped with any bony knobs or lengthened to serve as a whip as was the case with some sauropods. Against an animal twice its weight and density there was little the tail could do against the Palaeoloxodon. Lastly the use of its tail would mean that the T-Rex's head was no longer between its body and the elephant's tusks. So if its deployed, it would have to make himself very vulnerable. Therefore the use of this body part as a weapon would do more harm than good. 

3. "The T-Rex had sharp claws on its feet that could surely lacerate the skin. Why wasn't this weapon covered?" 

While it is true that T-Rex could have possessed sharp claws on its feet, the use of these weapons would probably be more detrimental against this specific opponent. To explain this better we need to consider that the opponent is much taller than the T-Rex. Any body part that will be injured by these claws would probably be limited to its legs and feet and not any vital organs. These weapons would be most effective against an opponent of lower stature such as an Ankylosaurus, triceratops, or young hadrosaurs - not Palaeoloxodon. Raising its feet so close to a larger opponent who is notorious for trampling foes will be almost suicide given that the T-Rex would very likely get toppled over faster. But let's pretend the T-Rex did perform this maneuver and successfully made contact with the elephant. The worst thing that could happen for the Paleo would be lacerations to the skin.. and that's it. Keep in mind that this skin is also flexible so it will absorb most of the initial trauma. Additionally the dense musculature of this elephant would not be critically wounded with one slash. The T-Rex's abstinence of using this weapon in this fight would rather speak to this animal's intelligence, since it wouldn't risk itself to being toppled over that easily.  

4. "Why wasn't the T-Rex's septic bite considered?"

The septic bite theory is one of those topics that still is highly debatable. There have been many fossils of herbivores (hadrosaurs and Ceratopsians) with bite marks on their bones but displayed signs of healing - meaning they survived the encounter and lived long enough for those wounds to heal. This implies that either the T-rex did not have a septic bite, or it did... but some animals were immune to this bacteria. Therefore it wasn't really considered in this simulation because of the rule sets that these fight simulations run by. Which are: only one walks out alive. This implies that septic bite or not.. one must die in this round - and septic bites don't kill immediately. The simulation ends when one combatant delivers a fatal blow, not waiting out when the opponent dies from infected wounds. 

5. "If the T-Rex bit the trunk, the Palaeo would have asphyxiated and died"

No elephant in history has asphyxiated by losing its trunk, or getting it pressed for too long. This is because elephants , like us humans, can breathe through their mouths. But let's answer another follow up question: What if the T-rex bit the trunk off?  The trunk of this specific proboscidean  would have been well protected by its two straight tusks that protected it from either end. In order to reach it the T-rex would have risked a frontal attack, which is suicide against the Palaeo. But in the off-chance that the T-rex did bite off the trunk (which he very well could) , the Palaeo would have probably survived either way. Note that this trunk does not contain any vital organs in which its livelihood depended on. It would have been the equivalent of a human getting its nose and upper lip bit off. Painful, but not fatal. 

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