Let’s imagine humans living 66 million years ago, alongside the biggest meat-eating dinosaur of all, Tyrannosaurus rex. T. rex surely would have been able to eat people. There are fossil bite marks, matching the teeth of T. rex, on the bones of Triceratops and duck-billed dinosaurs such as Edmontosaurus, which were both over 50 times heavier than an average person. But that doesn’t mean we would be hunted to extinction.
Like the prey of lions and tigers today, we would have been in danger, but found ways to survive. Many dinosaurs that were smaller than us survived alongside T. rex, and none of them had the benefit of our large brains!
Steve is a professor and palaeontologist at the University of Edinburgh and the author of the book The Rise And Reign Of The Mammals (£20, Picador), a 325-million-year odyssey of mammalian evolution and the people who study mammal fossils.