Also known as the T. Rex, Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the most popular dinosaurs that ever existed. Its large size and ferocious appearance have captured peoples’ attention. Pop culture and movies further pushed its popularity. They are often the main attraction in museums and exhibits.
Let’s learn more about this scary but fascinating animal in this post.
What’s in a name
The word tyrannosaur came from ancient Greek words tyrannos and sauros which mean tyrant and lizard respectively. Rex on the other hand is a Latin word that means king. That would make T. Rex the King of Tyrant Lizards.
Henry Fairfield Osborn was responsible for naming the king of dinosaurs. He was the president of the American Museum of Natural History during the time of the discovery and identification of the T. Rex.
What did the T. Rex look like?
Nobody had really seen a wholly preserved T. Rex in real life. But because of the over 50 T. Rex partial specimens that have been unearthed since 1902, we have a fairly good idea of what they might have looked like.
The T. Rex had an enormous head with its skull measuring about 1.5 metres. Conical serrated teeth lined its 1.2-metre long jaw. Its head is supported by its muscular s-shaped neck.
The T. Rex's arms were very short compared to its body measuring only one metre on average and had two clawed digits. It had large and powerful hind legs and a long and heavy tail.
It is widely accepted that the T. Rex’s skin was scaly like the other reptiles. This belief was based on the skin impressions from T. Rex fossils. However, this is being challenged because of the discovery of feathers from the fossils of the early T. Rex relatives, the Yutyrannus. However, no direct evidence has been found yet that the T. Rex had feathers.
How big is a T. Rex?
- Rex is one of the largest dinosaurs that roamed the planet. An adult T. Rex is estimated to be 4 metres tall and 12 metres long. It weighs around 8000 kilograms.
When did the T. Rex exist?
The T. Rex lived around 68 to 66 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period NOT in the Jurassic period as portrayed in the movies. T. Rex-like dinosaurs did exist during the Jurassic period though.
Where did the Tyrannosaurus Rex live?
- Rex roamed what is now Canada and the United States of America. So far, no T. Rex fossils have been discovered outside of North America although dinosaurs that were closely related to the T. Rex have been found in Asia.
What did the T. Rex eat?
Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs were carnivores. The large and powerful jaws of this king dino were capable of crushing the flesh and bone of other dinosaurs. They were probably mainly hunters but they could also have been opportunistic scavengers. They probably ate herbivore dinosaurs like the Triceratops and Edmontosaurus.
How did the T. Rex move?
- Rex was bipedal meaning they walked on their two hind legs. Scientists believe that this dinosaur can run at speeds of up to 20 kilometres per hour. The large tail of the T. Rex served to balance its enormous head.
T. Rex Bonus Facts
- This ferocious dino belonged to a group of dinosaurs known as the theropods under the family tyrannosauridae.
- The first-ever T. Rex fossils were found in 1902 by Barnum Brown in Hell Creek Formation in Montana.
- The most almost-complete T. Rex's skeleton had been found in South Dakota and was nicknamed Sue after Sue Hendrickson, one of the paleontologists who discovered it. It was around 90% intact.
- The largest-ever T. Rex skeleton was found in Saskatchewan, Canada. Nicknamed Scotty, it is estimated to be 12.8 metres long and around 8,800 kilograms. It was first unearthed in 1991 but it took two decades to fully excavate and analyse the remains.
- Soft tissues were found inside a leg bone of a T. Rex fossil unearthed from the Hell Creek Formation. The bone was unearthed in 2003, but the soft tissue was only discovered two years later and was found to be collagen. An analysis of the collagen showed that it had remarkable similarities to that of chickens.
- The average length of the T. Rex’s teeth is about 20 centimetres long. But the largest ever found was 30 centimetres long.
- T. Rex’s average lifespan is estimated to be 30 years.
- One bite of the T. Rex is equivalent to 6 tons of pressure!