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Tyrannosaurus Rex

Group Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Sauropsida
Superorder Dinosauria
Order Saurischia
Suborder Theropoda
Family Tyrannosauridae

Useful Statistics

Name Tyrannosaurus Rex
Pronounced Tie-Ran-O-Saw-Russ-Rex
Diet Carnivore
Size L 40 ft x H 20 ft
Weight 5 – 8 Tonnes
Period Cretaceous
Sub Period Upper

Tyrannosaurus Rex

The Tyrant Lizard King

You’ve seen him in the movies and maybe even in your nightmares but luckily for us all dinosaurs including the Tyrannosaurus Rex were extinct and never lived at the same time as humans.

Some old movies and cartoons portray cavemen existing at the time of the Dinosaurs but this is pure fantasy as all prehistoric reptiles including dinosaurs died out long before any type of human inhabited the planet.

If you’ve seen the movie Jurassic Park you might be fooled into thinking that the T-Rex existed in the Jurassic Period. This is incorrect as they only ever existed in the late Cretaceous Period.

A Mean Reputation

The name Tyrannosaurus Rex means Tyrant Lizard King , this carnivorous beast lived around 65 to 70 million years ago in the late Cretaceous Period but despite being extinct for so many years it’s still remembered as one of the most feared land predators of all time.

In a single week this massive flesh eater was known to consume its equivalent weight in meat. Try finding up to 8 tonnes of meat at your local super market, not an easy task but thats exactly how much this killer consumed each and every week.

Largest Carnivorous Dinosaur

For a long time it was believed that the T-Rex was the largest carnivorous dinosaur of them all but that was before the Giganotosaurus and Carcharodontosaurus were discovered.

Ok so he wasn’t the biggest of the meat eaters but he was still the largest member of the Tyrannosaurid family and of course recognised as one of the fiercest land predators ever to exist. At over 20 feet tall, 40 feet long and weighing up to 8 tonnes one can only imagine the fear that the roar of a T-Rex would place in the hearts of its enemies.

Did you know that a fully grown African Bull Elephant weighs as much as 6-7 tonnes which is almost as heavy as a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Big Head, Bigger Bite

The Tyrannosaurus Rex was an awesome looking creature and like all Theropods it walked on its two hind legs. One thing of note was the size of the skull which was approximately 5 feet long. Thats the size of an average sized human and is considered large even for dinosaurs. To support such a large head the T-Rex had a very strong but short neck giving it extra strength and stability when it moved.

Obviously a huge skull means plenty of room for large teeth which were so hard that they were known to penetrate even bone. All these features meant that the Tyrannosaurus Rex had the strongest bite force of any dinosaur that ever existed. The pressure exerted in a single bite was equivalent to around 4 tonnes per square inch. Obviously with such a mean bite teeth are bound to be lost but luckily for the T-Rex and the rest of the tyrannosaurid family these teeth grew back throughout its life.

The T-Rex was tiny compared to the long necked herbivorous sauropod reptiles which were much much bigger. Some examples include the Sauroposeidon which is the tallest known dinosaur at 55 foot (17 metres).

In fact there are even larger sauropods such as the Argentinasaurus who was 115+ feet long (35 metres) and weighing between 80-100 tonnes. Compare that to the T-Rex which was only 6-8 tonnes and 40 feet in length.

Tyrannosaurus Top Speed

The Tyrannosaurus Rex had one of the strongest not to mention longest legs of any theropod. These massive legs combined with three huge toes on each foot meant the T-Rex was able to take very long strides covering distances of up to 15 feet with each step and giving it a top speed of 25 mph.

The T-Rex also had a very large stiff tail which scientists believe was there to balance out the weight of its large head. Now because of the heavy nature of this tail it was initially thought that the T-Rex dragged its tail as it moved but this was incorrect as it actually carried its tail in the air to help maintain balance and once again cancel out the effect of its heavy head.

Habitat & Environment

It is thought that the T-Rex probably lived close to its prey which were plant eating herbivores. This means its primary dwelling was probably near forests, rivers and valleys rich in plant life. Fossils of this great predator have been found in North America and Mongolia but it’s possible that it also existed in many other parts of the world.

Movies and cartoons make it out like the T-Rex was an amazingly intelligent hunter but this was not the case.

In fact there were many carnivorous Dinosaurs such as the Troodon who were particularly famous for their tactical hunting abilities. In comparison to these hunters the T-Rex really wasn’t that bright.

Fossils

There are only about 30 Tyrannosaurus Rex fossils that have ever been found. The first T-Rex fossil was found in 1902 by Barnum Brown in South Eastern Montana, USA. Most other T-Rex fossils were found in Western parts of the USA but some have also been found in Canada and Asia.

Tyrannosaurus The Lone Warrior

How the T-Rex hunted is an issue up for debate but so far there has been no fossil evidence to say that it hunted in groups. For this reason alone most have classified it as a solitary hunter.

How it fared against other dinosaurs who did hunt and exist in packs is an interesting question. Some have said that the T-Rex depended solely on its amazing bite strength and aggressive nature to both hunt and maintain its superiority. Whilst others say that it wasn’t an aggressive hunter at all but rather a scavenger who picked out weaker, younger dinosaurs for its next meal.

In terms of what and who it preyed upon, there is fossil evidence to show that it commonly consumed both Triceratops and the duck billed Hadrosaur . As discussed above how it killed or attacked its prey is not 100% certain but some feel that it killed its prey by taking an initial power bite which severely crippled its prey causing massive blood loss. It would then wait for its victim to lose its strenght and finally go in for the finish.

Vision & Smell

The T-Rex had a small brain in proportion to its body, but even so it was larger than most dinosaurs. Its eyes faced forward in front of the skull which is very similar to the way human eyes are positioned. This meant it was more than capable of judging how far or close by distance objects were.

It’s also thought that the T-Rex had a very large portion of the brain allocated to smelling making it a very strong sniffer. If you combine these two natural abilities you have a very powerful predator.

Boxing Champ! Just Like Mike Tyson

Hardly! The T-Rex had arms that were only 3 feet long meaning he could hardly touch his own face let alone an opponents. Now despite these arms being tiny compared to the rest of its body, they were still extremely muscular and able to support hundreds of pounds in weight.

So what were these arms used for ? Well there are a number of theories and one of them is that the arms were used to assist the T-Rex whilst lifting itself off the floor. Others say that the two sharp claws on each arm were used to hold its prey whilst it devoured them with its mouth.

So sure he wasn’t well endowed in the arms department but lets not go feeling sorry for the T-Rex as it had a lot more going for it than those stubby little arms, and besides this huge beast didn’t need to box, all it had to do was bite.

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