Photo: MR1805 via Getty Images
When most people think of terrifying dinosaurs, they see enormous predators with rows of sharp teeth roaming the world. On the other hand, Herbivores were not vulnerable creatures and protected themselves in various ways.
A killer's instinct can make all the difference in a death match, especially one with no rules. In a sad twist of fate, Therizinosaurus lacked a strong predatory drive. These sluggish herbivores would rather spend their days grazing than hunting. But what if these two monsters ever met?
Today's battle matches the Tarbosaurus against the Therizinosaurus and promises another tremendous battle. Who would prevail in this prehistoric battle, the terrible claws or the fearsome teeth?
Therizinosaurus — The Scythe Lizard
These dinosaur's massive claws, fashioned like giant scythes, could drop a tyrannosaur to its knees.
This bizarre dinosaur stood out from the crowd thanks to its unusually large hips and protruding belly. The fragmentary remnants have allowed experts to estimate the creature's overall length to be around 10 meters (33 feet) and its potential weight to be as much as 6 tons, making it roughly as hefty as a massive Tyrannosaurus rex.
The infamous Velociraptor coexisted with this creature for around 5 million years in the region that is now Mongolia. A more humid environment had taken the place of the deserts where Velociraptors had roamed. Dinosaurs of all sizes, including those that didn't exist in the deserts, thrived in the rich soil of the later flood plain.
The Herbivore With The Longest Claws Of All Time
It is believed that the claws of Therizinosaurus, which might have measured up to 3.2 feet (one meter) in length and dangled downwards like Edward Scissorhands' terrifying fingers, were the largest in the history of the animal kingdom. Its name, which roughly translates to "scythe lizard," is rather fitting.
Because these beasts have claws that seem like they belong in a horror movie, you may assume they were created to slice and dice helpless victims. Despite this, it most likely consumed just plant matter. Most of its ancestors possessed teeth that resembled leaves and were designed for gnawing on vegetation; however, scientists have not yet discovered a skull belonging to Therizinosaurus.
So, what exactly is the deal with those terrifying claws? Despite claims that this dinosaur was a carnivore due to its prominent claws, paleontologists argue that it was a herbivore because it belonged to the therapod family of dinosaurs. The truth is, we still don't know what kind of food this dinosaur ate.
The Journey To Being A Dinosaur
In 1954, Russian paleontologist Evgeny Aleksandrovich Malayev concluded that the creature resembled a contemporary sea turtle. He argued that the unique forelimbs of the creature were, in reality, "powerful swimming organs" with claws adapted for "cutting aquatic vegetation."
After it was established that the creatures in question were, in fact, dinosaurs, scientists were at a loss as to how to categorize the peculiar Therizinosaurids at first.
Is it possible they are linked to the giant sauropods with long necks, like Brachiosaurus from Jurassic Park? Or did they belong to the group of dinosaurs known as "bird-hipped" animals, which also included Stegosaurus and Triceratops?
Even though they consumed plants like there was no tomorrow, deeper inspection revealed that therizinosaurs were descended from a group of dinosaurs known as theropods. Most theropods, including Tyrannosaurus, Velociraptor, and others, were carnivores. However, the therizinosaurs, ever the rebel, had feet that sat on four toes while it was upright and walking. Meanwhile, most theropods often only had three.
However, being part of a mostly carnivorous family doesn't mean that Therizinosaurus cannot be a herbivore. For example, even though they don't often consume meat, modern pandas are nonetheless classified as members of the mammalian meat-eater group known as "Carnivora."
Tarbosaurus — The Alarming Lizard
There was a tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur genus called Tarbosaurus that lived and thrived in what is now Asia during the end of the Late Cretaceous era, some 70 million years ago. Some fossils have been discovered in Mongolia, and more pieces have been uncovered in other regions of China.
This gigantic dinosaur was around 40 feet in length and 5 tons in weight when alive. While Tyrannosaurus rex ruled the North American continent, Tarbosaurus dominated Asia. Compared to other Tyrannosaurids, Tarbosaurus was the second-largest, with the Tyrannosaurus rex being the biggest dinosaur of its kind.
Is The Tarbosaurus Just A T. Rex?
Tarbosaurus resembled the Tyrannosaurus rex quite closely, as both were equipped with large limbs but lacked in the arm department, and their mouths were stuffed with rows of sharp, pointed fangs. While the Tyrannosaurus rex is noticeably larger than the Tarbosaurus, the two were otherwise quite comparable.
Due to their similarities, some paleontologists have hypothesized that Tyrannosaurus Rex and Tarbosaurus were the same dinosaurs. The possibility existed that some of them had made the trip from Asia to North America. There was a chance that it was evolving into something else.
This would suggest that Tarbosaurus traveled across a land bridge, maybe the Siberian land bridge, connecting Asia and North America, where it finally developed into the T. Rex since this prehistoric creature predates T. rex by a long shot. This is just a supposition at the moment, but it's interesting to consider.
A Meat-Eating Monster
There is evidence that Tarbosaurus bataar was a carnivore, feeding mostly on meat.
Asian and North American tyrannosaurines were carnivores, though the latter were equally likely to scavenge when the opportunity presented itself. The available prey, though, was distinct.
T. rex was likely especially adept at hunting down other huge dinosaurs, like the ceratopsian Triceratops, although this genus was notably missing from the environment outside of North America.
Tyrannosaurids in Mongolia most likely chowed down on sauropods. It has been hypothesized that Tarbosaurus bataar's strong and rigid skull evolved to cope with the enormous sauropods that lived here but everywhere in North America throughout the late Cretaceous was unknown.
Analysis of Parasaurolophus (a hadrosaur) bones has recently shown several bite marks consistent with those made by Tarbosaurus. This indicates that rather than actively seeking and murdering its prey, this tyrannosaur likely scavenged its victim's dead body.
Whether or whether tyrannosaurs primarily relied on hunting or scavenging for food is still up for dispute; they likely used both tactics depending on the circumstances.
Let's Get Ready For A Prehistoric Rumble
So, what would happen if these dinosaurs fought with one another?
Consider the scientific data, such as the dinos' size, speed, killer instincts, and weaponry, and imagine a fight to the death in a setting where both beasts feel at home, such as in a forest or jungle.
In the ancient era, injuries often resulted in imminent death. Since the Tarbosaurus probably wouldn't have a chance of getting a clean bite on the Therizinosaurus without getting hurt, it could back off immediately.
In such a scenario, each species will likely go about its own business without interfering with the other.
Nonetheless, Tarbosaurus is the clear winner in this matchup and every conceivable category if it came to a clean head-on fight. Therizinosaurus was only a sluggish leaf eater who stood about as much of a chance fighting a jaguar as a sloth. Moreover, there is evidence that Tarbosaurus lived and maybe hunted in packs, greatly disadvantaging the Therizinosaurus.