Yes, it has come to this: we are calculating the ‘cone of stink’ of a T. rex.
I’m working on not just the ‘combat models’ for Dinosaur Island see (“Creating a combat model for T. rex versus Edmontosaurus regalis“) but the AI that drives the decisions and actions of the dinosaurs as well. While creating the AI I realized that scent was probably as important as sight to any dinosaur that didn’t want to become dinner. At the same time, predators – successful predators – should take wind direction into consideration when planning their attacks and consequently maneuver to be downwind of their prey.
After watching a number of predator / prey scenarios in Dinosaur Island I became convinced that the T. rex didn’t just see an Edmontosaurus from 500 meters away and start charging towards it. I think the T. rex maneuvered into position (downwind) and only then ran at top speed when it was within 50 meters of the victim. I don’t think that a T. rex had energy to burn – and they sure burned a lot of energy running with all that weight at top speed – and even an unarmored prey like Edmontosaurus could pack a terrific wallop with its tail if it was forewarned.
As we shall see in the next few postings, dinosaur predators were not just big dumb brutes and scavengers. For them to survive they had to plan their attacks in advance or be incredibly lucky. Also, we shall see how ‘olfactory acuity’ and ‘angle of vision’ played an important role in detecting predators before it was too late for big herbivores like Edmontosaurus and that the key to their survival involved group defensive tactics.