Tyrannosaurus rex – king of the dinosaurs

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Did you know?

The force behind T. rex’s bite is roughly equivalent to its own body weight – that’s about 20 grand pianos!

Vital statistics

Length: 10-12m long (almost the length of a bus)
Height: 3.6m at hip
Weight: 5-7 tonnes (though perhaps to 10 tonnes or more)
Discovery:  found 1902, named 1905
Distinguishing features: giant size, thick neck, broad cheeks, tiny forelimbs

 

Chronotex field observations

Tyrannosaurus tend to arrive in large numbers near TimeBase 67 when herds of suitable prey arrive in the area, like Triceratops or Edmontosaurus.

Its long strides mean it covers distance fast – at more than 1.3 metres long, the tracks of an adult give us some perspective – so it doesn’t need to be especially agile to race over short distances to catch prey. Its famously short front limbs, when examined at close range, are remarkably robust and very heavily muscled. The two fingers aren’t short compared to the rest of the forelimb and have especially prominent, strongly hooked claws.

Females tend to be more robust than males, to help with egg-laying duties. Hatching is synchronous and babies are fairly independent of adults, with juvenile tyrannosaurs living in groups together. Adults are also pretty social, moving at times in groups of twos or threes to intimidate rival groups or even co-operate in catching prey.

As big animals with dynamic social lives, Tyrannosaurus recognise other individuals with the same features, but also by using colour, odour and vocalisation patterns too. To help control territory and engage in long-distance communication, they make loud, far-reaching noises. Sounds resembling purrs, growls and rumbles as well as crackling, cracking and whooshing noises are all part of their vocal range.

With its muted dark colours, Tyrannosaurus can be remarkably difficult to spot. These are generally pretty lazy animals, resting or sleeping for as much as 20 hours of the day, much like today’s giant predators. Tyrannosaurus also sports a mane, not dissimilar to a lion’s.

 Key facts

  • One of the largest terrestrial predators ever to exist, as much as 12m long, and weighing somewhere between 5 and 10 tonnes
  • Only Spinosaurus (a possibly amphibious predatory dinosaur from an earlier part of the Cretaceous) was larger
  • Massive, thick-boned jaws, huge jaw muscles and spike-like teeth make this one of the most powerful predators of all time, literally able to break through bone with one of the strongest bites ever evolved
  • Famous for proportionally small forelimbs (which are still amazingly strong despite their size) equipped with just two fingers
  • Relatively long hindlimbs with enormous muscles make this a pretty fast-moving animal, though generally not capable of running great distances
  • Tyrannosaurus grow quickly, rarely living beyond 30
  • Juveniles are slim and slender in contrast to the giant, heavily-built adults

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