Dinosaurs in Motion
Did dinosaurs hunt in packs?
Yes, paleontologists speculate that certain carnivorous dinosaurs exhibited a social behavior called pack hunting. The large theropods, like Tyrannosaurus and Giganotosaurus, show some evidence of hunting in packs similar to modern-day lions.
In a recent discovery in Argentina, scientists found a huge collection of dinosaur bones of Giganotosaurus—a carnivorous dinosaur that grew to 45 feet (13.7 meter) long and weighed about 8 tons (7 metric tons). The bones of four or five Giganotosaurus dinosaurs indicate that they died together on the Patagonian plains, swept away by a fast-flowing river. The bones show that two of the animals were very big, but the others were smaller. Scientists believe that this shows that there was some kind of social behavior, such as pack hunting. Each animal within the group would have different characteristics, giving the pack a great range of capabilities, such as going after smaller and larger animals.
Other evidence shows that at least some of the dromaeosaurids, or “raptors,” engaged in pack hunting. When the first fossils of a dinosaur called Deinonychus were found—a 6-foot-(1.8-meter-) tall, 9-foot (2.8-meter-) long Cretaceous period predator of western North America—the remains of many of these carnivores were clustered near the body of a large herbivore, a Tenontosaurus. Paleontologists theorized that these predators perished during the struggle with the larger dinosaur, indicating that the hunt was being conducted by a group.