T. rex skeleton photo by Dylan Kereluk, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The Tyrant Lizard
Tyrannosaurus rex, whose name means “Tyrant Lizard,” was first discovered by Barnum Brown in 1902. T. rex lived during the late Cretaceous period, in western North America, at the time an island continent called Laramidia. Here are five quick facts about T. rex:
- T. rex Fact #1: T. rex was one of the largest known land predators. It grew up to 40 feet in length, 13 feet tall at the hips, and weighed 6.8 metric tons. T. rex probably had feathers, at least on parts of its body. T. rex also had enhanced eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell (comparable to modern vultures), and could track prey movements from long distances.
- T. rex Fact #2: Scientists used to think T. rex walked upright and dragged its tail (like a “living tripod”) but now they think the tail as off the ground, as seen in Jurassic Park. Henry Fairfield Osborn, the former president of the American Museum of Natural History, was convinced T. rex stood upright and unveiled the first complete T. rex skeleton this way in 1915. It stood in this upright pose for 77 years, until 1992.
- T. rex Fact #3: T. rex was probably a predator and a scavenger, and was estimated to have one of the largest bite forces among all terrestrial animals. It had large, serrated teeth, and could probably eat 500 pounds in one bite. Because meat got stuck in T. rex‘s teeth, bacteria gave it a septic bite,” meaning one bite could have infected prey, causing it to die weeks later if it successfully escaped a T. rex attack.
- T. rex Fact #4: Female T. rex was bigger than male T. rex. They may have been as much as a few thousand pounds bigger.
- T. rex Fact #5: T. rex may have had pack behavior. This means they may have hunted together. According to Pete Larson, there have been four instances where more than one T. rex has been reported found together.
- I KNOW DINO PODCAST: TYRANNOSAURUS REX (EPISODE 1)
- “Tyrannosaurus Rex” on National Geographic
- “Tyrannosaurus Rex: Facts About T. Rex, King of the Dinosaurs” on Live Science
- “Tyrannosaurus Rex” on About
Learn more about Tyrannosaurus in episode 200 of our podcast.