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A US marine fighting in the Middle East inadvertently falls in a hole that happens to be a time portal and is teleported in the Cretaceous era, 70 million years in the past.

Our Marine is equipped with a M16A4 and the standard Marine equipment (grenades, binoculars etc...).

When wakes up, he is in an open forest, unharmed. A T-Rex wandering nearby unfortunately spots him and decides to have a bite from this strange looking monkey.

Does our poor Marine stand a chance? Can he somehow scare off or even kill the T-Rex with his weapons?

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closed as off-topic by Renan, Ash, dot_Sp0T, Frostfyre, Measure of despare. May 13 at 15:03

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    $\begingroup$ Usually, I'd say it's pretty much opinion based, since I know nobody who has tested a T-Rex endurance to modern fire power, and it hinges on the narrator bias... But since we're on WB.SE, I'm waiting here to see a full expose about why or why not this is going to work... $\endgroup$ – Nyakouai May 13 at 7:56
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    $\begingroup$ Since the human may have little resistance to the microbes of the era, he may prefer the quick death from the T-Rex. $\endgroup$ – user535733 May 13 at 10:50
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    $\begingroup$ @user535733 Since the Cretaceous is roughly sixty million years before humans evolved, microbes won't have had the chance to adapt to infecting humans. The tyrannosaur is worth worrying about, he can forget quick death by the sniffles. $\endgroup$ – a4android May 13 at 11:56
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    $\begingroup$ @a4android I'd love to see a microbiologist's or virologist's take on that. Not all bacteria and viruses are all that picky (rabies attacks just about any mammal, for instance). Humans were just a gleam in God's eye, but mammals had been around for well over 100M years at that point so something would have evolved to prey on them. Even if there weren't mammal-specific microbes that found a human "good enough," I wouldn't be surprised if there were a fungus that quite liked some warm moist bit of the human body, for instance, which his body didn't know how to fight off... :-) $\endgroup$ – T.J. Crowder May 13 at 13:17
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    $\begingroup$ I'd say we can agree that the death rate of T-Rexs by M16 is 0.00%, so it's not that effective, no? On the other hand, also the death rate of humans by T-Rex is 0.00%, so the marine is pretty safe. Isn't he? $\endgroup$ – frarugi87 May 13 at 14:39
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Yes.

Once upon a time, big game hunters went after elephants with elephant guns, large-caliber rifles like the the .450 Nitro Express.

These days, poachers kill elephants with assault rifles, just like the rifle your Marine would carry.

The open forest should allow the Marine fire at a decent range. In close jungle, it might become a mutual kill with the T Rex bleeding out only after he killed the Marine.

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  • 4
    $\begingroup$ "Can a T-Rex be killed by an assault rifle?" is a rather different question than "Could the Marine kill the T-Rex before the T-Rex killed him?" $\endgroup$ – chepner May 13 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ A National Geographic ad for gun control doesn't say a small-caliber "assault rifle" is the right choice for big-game hunting. Fire enough rounds, and sure, it will take down a large animal -- but if you're defending yourself, you want that animal taken down FAST. A 5.56mm round like the one fired by the M16A4 isn't going to do it -- there are anecdotal reports of it not being able to stop people, let alone elephants or a T-Rex. $\endgroup$ – Rob Crawford May 13 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ W.D.M. "Karamojo" Bell is reported to have killed over 1,000 elephants (for the record, don't shoot elephants) with a 7x57mm Mauser, nobody's idea of an elephant gun. He was a good shot and knew the elephant's anatomy very well. However, that round has about twice the muzzle energy of the 5.56, a T. Rex is about twice the size of an African elephant, Bell was not defending himself against an "attack" but choosing his shots at leisure, and our Marine couldn't possibly have Bell's knowledge of his quarry's anatomy. As for "decent range", energy falls off at range. I don't buy it. $\endgroup$ – Ed Plunkett May 13 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ I'm also dubious about the 5.56 NATO round being able to kill the T Rex fast enough. To survive a charge I think the Marine would need to have an M203 40mm grenade launcher attached to his M4, and be far enough away to safely use it to take down a charging TRex. $\endgroup$ – Dan Neely May 13 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ @AndreiROM "assault rifle" is a very common descriptor for a select fire rifle that utilizes a detachable magazine and intermediate rounds (e.g. 5.56x45mm or 7.62x39mm). Not sure where you got the idea that there's no such thing as an assault rifle. $\endgroup$ – ben May 14 at 4:12
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Yes

T-rex are animals not movie monsters. Once something starts causing them pain they will leave. Humans use rocks to drive lions away, bullets will drive it away if they don't kill it outright. Large predators are usually wary of things they do not recognize anyway. A predator that routinely gets injured while procuring a meal is not going to have many offspring. Herbivores are different, and a lot more dangerous.

Animals only attack with little concern for injury when directly threatened. Getting yourself killed trying to procure lunch is not beneficial. To quote an old saying Why does the rabbit run faster than the fox, (or in this case fight harder) the fox is only running for its lunch the rabbit is running for its life.

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    $\begingroup$ It's really worth mentioning predators stay alive by preying on the weak, not tussling with what is portrayed as a threat. Little things making loud noises come to mind, or even cats being chased by large, angry rats. $\endgroup$ – lucasgcb May 13 at 11:26
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    $\begingroup$ Also worth mentioning is that a predator of the size of a T-Rex would see the human as a very small meal - adding to the "not worth it" factor $\endgroup$ – JGreenwell May 13 at 12:05
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    $\begingroup$ Also standard Maine equipment includes flashbangs which would also be a helpful way to scare away a predator re: @lucasgcb "loud noises" comment (nice thought there). $\endgroup$ – JGreenwell May 13 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ This was my first thought as well, but we do need to consider that there are some animals which are more stubborn. I saw a video of a rhino that kept charging a group in which one member was continually shooting it. The rhino did not stop until it was almost upon them and another member gave it one shot with a much higher powered gun which dropped it dead. $\endgroup$ – Loduwijk May 13 at 15:11
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    $\begingroup$ @Aaron Rhinos are not predators and if they are attacking they are stressed and fending a threat off their space rather than pure self-preserving. Hippos are also not predatory but still are incredibly violent and unrelenting when it comes to having their space invaded. Assuming a T-Rex doesn't have a tiny brain like herbivores, our marine will ironically have a harder time with everything else that does. $\endgroup$ – lucasgcb May 13 at 15:29
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Well, your soldier couldn't outrun it and probably couldn't easily duck attacks, either. Recent models suggest running speeds of 27 km/h), and other recent studies hypothesize that Tyrannosaurus was capable of making relatively quick turns and could likely pivot its body more quickly when close to its prey, or that while turning, the theropod could "pirouette" on a single planted foot while the alternating leg was held out in a suspended swing during pursuit.

I doubt, however, that a T-rex could survive a sustained burst from an assault rifle. Chugging a grenade down its throat should also do the trick, and the dinosaur might even reflexively swallow anything entering its mouth.

All this is necessarily speculative, since we have never studued a T-rex in the wild.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm curious, how do you suggest to chug a grenade down a T-Rex throat? :) $\endgroup$ – Nyakouai May 13 at 11:07
  • $\begingroup$ I saw opposite evidence to this, actually! - that T-Rexes wouldn't be able to run nowhere near the speed needed to grab a regular person! $\endgroup$ – T. Sar May 13 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ More details here $\endgroup$ – T. Sar May 13 at 11:20
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    $\begingroup$ @Nyakouai If the T-Rex has it's mouth open, throw it? $\endgroup$ – Martin Bonner May 13 at 13:47
  • $\begingroup$ "I doubt, however, that a T-rex could survive a sustained burst from an assault rifle" -- can you share your calculations? A T Rex is a very large animal (~9,000 kg), and there's some debate about whether the 5.56 round is adequate to humanely take whitetail deer (~68kg). And remember that this is an "attack", not calmly sniping at an unsuspecting animal. If it bleeds out nine hours after it eats you, maybe that counts as a tie, but who do you brag to? And how? $\endgroup$ – Ed Plunkett May 13 at 20:13
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Signs point to 'No.'

Recently a British soldier, fully kitted out for anti-poaching operations, was killed by an elephant. A T-Rex is quite a bit larger, and carnivorous besides.

Even if they manage to kill the dinosaur, they're still on their own in very foreign lands. Almost any wound is going to drastically reduce our soldier's life expectancy.

Of course, it's much less-surprising to encounter an elephant during anti-elephant-poaching mission than it is to encounter a T-Rex after waking up.

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    $\begingroup$ In that article, the soldier was there to protect the elephants. They accidentally startled some elephants and one charged. Did the soldier discharge his weapon or try to avoid the charging elephant? I don't think you can directly compare the two scenarios without knowing if the soldier fired or not. $\endgroup$ – suchafunkymonkey May 13 at 14:22

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