T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator: Images

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In Images: A New Look at T. Rex and Its Relatives

By Christine Lunsford, for Live Science

At the new American Museum of Natural History exhibit “T. rex: The Ultimate Predator” (Mar. 11, 2019 to Aug. 9, 2020) visitors will come face to face with a life-size model of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Feathers on the reconstruction may surprise guests, yet this is to date the most scientifically accurate depiction of the ancient animal.

Read more about the recent discoveries that are transforming scientists’ understanding of T. rex.

Big and tall

A fully-grown T. rex weighed between six to nine tons (5,500 to 8,000 kilograms) and stood over 12 feet (4 meters) tall at the hip.

Credit: Illustration by Zhao Chuang; courtesy of PNSO

Jaws and claws

From nose to tail tip, an adult T. rex could measure more than 40 feet (13 m) long. With sharp claws and jaws strong enough to pulverize bones, this fierce theropod dominated its Jurassic ecosystems.

Credit: Illustration by Zhao Chuang; courtesy of PNSO

Groundbreaking discovery

At Big Dry Creek at the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, the American Museum of Natural History’s legendary dinosaur hunter Barnum Brown discovered a T. rex skeleton in 1908. A full-scale cast of the find is on permanent display in the museum’s Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs.

Credit: Copyright AMNH Library 18337

Painstaking work

Here, AMNH preparator Peter Kaisen carefully excavates the T. rex skull at the 1908 dig at Big Dry Creek in Montana. This skeleton is known as AMNH 5027.

Credit: Copyright AMNH Library 18338

Fruits of labor

After much diligent work clearing sediment away from AMNH 5027 at the Big Dry Creek dig site, the skull of the enormous dinosaur was finally visible.

Credit: Copyright AMNH Library 18340

Securing the fossils

At the dig site in Montana, the pelvis of the T. rex known as AMNH 5027 is lifted carefully out of the ground.

Credit: Copyright AMNH Library 18341

Assembling the pieces


Inside the museum’s Department of Vertebrate Paleontology, AMNH preparator Charles Lang and paleontologist Barnum Brown examine AMNH 5027, the Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton uncovered at Big Dry Creek in Montana in 1908.

Credit: Copyright AMNH Library 121779

All in the familyProceratosaurus, the earliest known member of the tyrannosaur group, lived around 167 million years ago. The animal we know as T. rex came along a hundred million years later.

Credit: Illustration by Zhao Chuang; courtesy of PNSO

A feathered cousin

Dilong paradoxus lived around 127 million years ago, 40 million years after the appearance of the earliest known tyrannosaurs. For a tyrannosaur, it had unusually long arms. D. paradoxus was the first tyrannosaur discovered with fossilized feathers. Paleontologists argue that feathers were present not only throughout the tyrannosaur family, but in the earliest dinosaurs.

Credit: Copyright AMNH/D. Finnin

Filling in gaps

Scientists have found few tyrannosaur fossils dating from 125 million to 84 million years ago, so a new medium-size specimen discovered in 2009 helped to fill a significant gap in the tyrannosaur family tree. Xiongguanlong baimoensis, which lived between 125 million and 100 million years ago, offers insight into tyrannosaur evolution during the early Cretaceous.

Credit: Illustration by Zhao Chuang; courtesy of PNSO

Tiny and adorable

Though T. rex is typically thought of as formidable predator, the animal started life as a small and defenseless hatchling.

Credit: Copyright AMNH/D. Finnin

Starting small

Young Tyrannosaurus rex began life as diminutive, fluff-covered animals, most of which survived less than one year

Credit: AMNH/R. Peterson/Copyright AMNH

Fluffy beginnings

Vulnerable T. rex hatchlings likely emerged from eggs that were laid in aboveground nests. Though scientists have yet to find fossils of tyrannosaur eggs, evidence from related dinosaurs and modern birds sheds light on egg-laying and parenting behavior in extinct tyrannosaurs.

Credit: AMNH/R. Peterson/Copyright AMNH

On the hunt

A full-scale T. rex skeleton cast “comes to life” in an animated shadow display, demonstrating how the animal battled prey — and even its own kind.

Credit: Copyright AMNH/D. Finnin


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3 COMMENTS

  1. …….news from the Electric Universe and plasma physics and the Thunderboltsproject.com, with Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott………..a number of important discoveries have been recently made that are relevant to this discussion certainly……hundreds of dinosaur specimens have been found with preserved soft tissue, bone marrow, and collagen preserved and intact, and of 12 specimens carbon-14, all came back between 1950 years old to 40,000 years old…………..one juvenile T-rex dated 4000 years old, and the adult female discovered by Mary Schweitzer some 10 years ago, was dated at 35,000 years old. Also, recently, Cassini’s spectrometer measured the deuterium/hydrogen ratio of the water in the ice rings of Saturn and several moons, and discovered the same ratio exists on only one other world, an exoplanet called Terra……it’s the first direct evidence that indeed, the Brown Dwarf Star, now called the de-flared gas giant Saturn, was our primordial mother star, and if the ancients are correct, as evidenced by the Giza Plateau, and the pyramids of Teotihuacan, representing the 3 stars of Orion’s belt, we came from the vicinity of the Orion Nebula, some 1344 lightyears away along the Orion galactic arm we are part of…….using a relative speed of 45,000 mph, our motion towards the next star system, 1344 lightyears/45,000 mph=19,998,000 years of age…….20,000,000 years would be earth’s upper limit of age, Mars, also our sister planet, about 10,000,000 years of age, Venus, about 100,000 years of age, and our latest sister planet, Titan, about 15,000 years of age, also formed during the Great Deluge of history, which occurred sometime between 12,800 and 15,000 years ago………*see the Thunderboltsproject.com with Wallace Thornhill….Gary Hinchman

    • Edward Dodge, Plus how could they look so cute when they were babies? I would suspect that T. Rex was warm-blooded. For something of that size to be able to exist would have probably meant that it could regulate its own temperature…although how do we know that its environment was ever anything but warm/hot?