LONDON, April 9 (UPI) -- After the close study of dino specimen recovered in western Canada revealed a litany of life-long injuries, scientists concluded that tyrannosaurs likely engaged in combat with their peers -- and maybe cannibalism too.
The tyrannosaur in question, called Daspletosaurus, was not quite fully grown (the equivalent of a teenager), but didn't lose much in size to its slightly bigger and more famous relative T. rex.
After its excavation, paleontologists found numerous injuries on the well-preserved skull and other bones. Many of the injuries showed evidence of healing, suggesting the dinosaur survived attacks and lived for several more years. Although the injuries can't be directly linked to any single dinosaur, researchers say they are similar in shape to the size of a tyrannosaurus bite.
Researchers also found evidence of a large postmortem wound to the skull, suggesting the Daspletosaurus was eaten by one of its own.
"This animal clearly had a tough life suffering numerous injuries across the head including some that must have been quite nasty," lead study author David Hone, a paleontologist at Queen Mary, University of London, explained in a press release. "The most likely candidate to have done this is another member of the same species, suggesting some serious fights between these animals during their lives."
The new study -- published this week in PeerJ -- doesn't offer the first evidence of dino combat (or even cannibalism), but it is unique to find a single specimen riddled with both pre- and postmortem injuries.