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Sunday, July 04, 2010


Tyrannosaurus rex
Jurassic Park

NAME: Tyrannosaurus means 'tyrant lizard'.

DISCOVERED BY: Osborn, in 1905.

CLASSIFICATION: Saurischia, Theropoda, Tyrannosauridae.

REMAINS: discovered in North America.

DIMENSIONS: length: 14 metres; height: 6 metres; weight: 7 tonnes.

Tyrannosaurus rex (1)

CHARACTERISTICS: Tyrannosaurus was a gigantic carnivorous dinosaur. It had a massive, elongated skull over 1.50 metres long; the muscles of it jaws were extremely strong and its neck so powerful that it could drag heavy prey and tear off large chunks of flesh from it. Tyrannosaurus moved only on its hind legs which were very muscular, strong and long enough to enable it to run quite fast. In contrast it forelimbs were very small with only two digits. This was probably so as not to weigh down the front part of the body further, which was already supporting its massive skull. Possibly it used these short forelimbs, which were to short even to carry food to its mouth, to help it get off the ground when lying down. Tyrannosaurus had over 50 teeth which were enormous, some as much as 20 centimetres long, and had serrated edges. They were very sharp, curved inwards and could tear a prey to pieces and rip kilograms of flesh off the carcass in a single bite. But palaeontologists disagree about the hunting technique of Tyrannosaurus. Some believe it hunted by chasing its prey while others think that it laid ambushes and traps. Others again old that it fed only carrion or that it snatched the prey caught by other animals. Given its enormous size, it may not have been able to pursue a prey for a long time. It is more likely that it just attacked and snatched its prey and then waited for it to die.

Tyrannosaurus rex (2)

Did you know that...

Tyrannosaurus was one of the most fearsome, terrifying predators that ever lived on Earth. Its prey included ceratopsids (on some bones of which traces of Tyrannosaurus teeth have been observed) as well as hadrosaurs: fragments of Edmontosaurus bones have been discovered in some Tyrannosaurus coprolite (fossilised excrement).

Tyrannosaurus rex (3)

What recent discoveries have been made about the young of Tyrannosaurus?
(see the answer at the bottom of this article)

T. rex's skull

past and present

For almost a century Tyrannosaurus has been recognised as the largest carnivorous dinosaur that ever existed but other specimens of dinosaur recently discovered in Africa and South America are even larger! Carcharodontosaurus, found in North America, weighed eight tons. Its skull was even bigger that that of Tyrannosaurus and its teeth are reminiscent of those of a shark. Giganotosaurus which lived in South America was bigger than both of them.

Note: Carcharodontosaurus could weigh a tonne more than Tyrannosaurus.


A Carchardontosaurus's tooth


According to the most recent discoveries, Tyrannosaurus young were born with a thick layer of feathers to keep them warm, The feathers gradually disappeared as they grew up.

Source: DINOSAUR A-Z (Brown Watson)

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