Terrifying Tyrannosaurs were social creatures who hunted together like wolves, new research says

When we think of what a Tyrannosaurus looked like, we picture a gargantuan dinosaur with a huge mouth, formidable legs and tail, and inexplicably tiny arms. When we picture how it behaved, we might imagine it stomping and roaring onto a peaceful scene, single-handedly wreaking havoc and tearing the limbs off of anything it can find with its steak-knife-like teeth like a giant killing machine.

The image is probably fairly accurate, except for one thing—there's a good chance the T. rex wouldn't have been hunting alone.

New research from a fossil-filled quarry in Utah shows that Tyrannosaurs may have been social creatures who utilized complex group hunting strategies, much like wolves do. The research team who conducted the fossil study and made the discovery include scientists from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, Colby College of Maine, and James Cook University in Australia.

The idea of social Tyrannosaurs isn't entirely new—Canadian paleontologist Philip Curie floated the hypothesis 20 years ago upon the discovery of a group of T. rex skeletons who appeared to have died together—but it has been widely debated in the paleontology world. Many scientists have doubted that their relatively small brains would be capable of such complex social behavior, and the idea was ridiculed by some as sensationalized paleontology PR.


However, another mass Tyrannosaurus death site found in Montana lent scientific credence to the theory, and now the Utah discovery has provided even more evidence that these massive creatures weren't solitary predators, but social hunters.

"The new Utah site adds to the growing body of evidence showing that Tyrannosaurs were complex, large predators capable of social behaviors common in many of their living relatives, the birds," said Joe Sertich, curator of dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. "This discovery should be the tipping point for reconsidering how these top carnivores behaved and hunted across the northern hemisphere during the Cretaceous."

The Utah site, known as the Rainbows and Unicorns Quarry (yes, really), has provided paleontologists a wealth of fossils since its discovery in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 2014. Such sites are rare, and the findings in them are often difficult to interpret.

"We realized right away this site could potentially be used to test the social Tyrannosaur idea. Unfortunately, the site's ancient history is complicated," said U.S. Bureau of Land Management paleontologist Dr. Alan Titus. "With bones appearing to have been exhumed and reburied by the action of a river, the original context within which they lay has been destroyed. However, all has not been lost."

Researchers used a multi-disciplinary approach, examining the physical and chemical evidence to determine that a group of 12 Tyrannosaurs at the Utah site were likely killed during a flood that washed their remains into a lake. "None of the physical evidence conclusively suggested that these organisms came to be fossilized together, so we turned to geochemistry to see if that could help us," said Dr. Celina Suarez of the University of Arkansas. "The similarity of rare earth element patterns is highly suggestive that these organisms died and were fossilized together."

The Tyrannosaurus fossils are dated at 76.4 million years old. The research team has also found fossils from seven species of turtles, multiple fish and ray species, two other kinds of dinosaurs, and a nearly complete skeleton of a juvenile (12-foot-long) Deinosuchus alligator.

It's always a fun day when we find out one of history's most terrifying creatures is even more terrifying than we believed. One Tyrannosaurus sounds scary enough, but a group of them strategizing to hunt? That's definitely worse, like a coordinated troupe of Godzillas. No thanks, Cretaceous Period. We're good here.

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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

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Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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