Episode 454: Tyrannosaurus with Pete Larson — remastered. We went back and remastered our first ever episode of I Know Dino so that the interview is a lot easier to hear and understand.
The dinosaur of the day: Tyrannosaurus
Pete Larson, paleontologist and president of the Black Hills Institute in South Dakota. He led the excavation of the T. rex named Sue, the largest and most complete T. rex found at the time. Pete is a T. rex expert, and one of the main people in the documentary Dinosaur 13:
When Paleontologist Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute made the world’s greatest dinosaur discovery in 1990, they knew it was the find of a lifetime; the largest, most complete T. rex ever found. But during a ten-year battle with the U.S. government, powerful museums, Native American tribes, and competing paleontologists they found themselves not only fighting to keep their dinosaur but fighting for their freedom as well.
In this episode, we discuss:
- Pete Larson, paleontologist and president of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in South Dakota. He led the excavation of the T. rex “Sue,” the largest and most complete T. rex found at the time.
- The documentary, Dinosaur 13, came out recently about the excavation, detailing the federal government’s seizure of Sue, the 10-year long legal battle, how Black Hills came together to fight for Sue, and Larson’s 18 months in prison.
- The dinosaur of the day is Tyrannosaurus rex, which is ancient Greek for “Tyrant Lizard.”
- T. rex lived during the late Cretaceous period, in western North America (at the time an island continent called Laramidia)
- T. rex was one of the largest known land predators; up to 40 feet in length, 13 feet tall at the hips, and 6.8 metric tons
- T. rex was probably a predator and a scavenger, and was estimated to have one of the largest bite forces among all terrestrial animals
- Scientists used to think T. rex walked upright and dragged its tail (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 probably had feathers, at least on parts of its body.
- T. rex had enhanced eyesight, hearing, and sense of smell (comparable to modern vultures), and could track prey movements from long distances.
- T. rex may have had pack behavior.
Garret: Yeah, when we were in Dinosaur National Monument, which is this really neat museum that spans the Colorado-Utah border, they have a couple points where they talk about dinosaurs with feathers and I like to imagine the T. rex being covered in black feathers and looking like a giant evil raven or something like that. And I can imagine that being much more terrifying with its ruffled feathers and looking that much bigger than if it was just a scaly, green creature.
Sabrina: It would be terrifying.
The time between when Stegosaurus lived and when T. rex lived is longer than the time between when T. rex lived and now.
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For those who may prefer reading, see below for the full transcript of our first episode (including the interview with Pete Larson):Continue Reading …