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Interesting facts about tyrannosaurs

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We found 25 interesting facts about tyrannosaurs

Tyrannosaurus rex (royal tyrant lizard)

Tyrannosaurs were a genus of lizard-hipped dinosaurs that lived during the Late Cretaceous period on the continent of Laramidia, which today makes up northwestern North America. Tyrannosaurus rex is the only representative of this genus discovered so far, but the Tyrannosaurus rex family includes many similar creatures. Although there is no clear evidence yet, they probably originated in Asia and only arrived in North America at the end of the Cretaceous period.


Tyrannosaurs are a genus of theropod dinosaurs.

Theropods were reptile dinosaurs that walked on two legs. The first theropods appeared on Earth about 230 million years ago, tyrannosaurs were among the last to end the era of dinosaurs (90 - 65,5 million years ago).

The only known tyrannosaur to date was Tyrannosaurus rex, commonly known as T.Rex.

Tyrannosaurus Rex was one of the largest predators that ever lived on Earth.

The largest specimen discovered so far was called Scotty, measuring 13 meters in length.

According to tests, Scotty could weigh 8800 kg. Fossils of this giant can be seen at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada. Another large representative of the tyrannosaurs is Sue. Sue's body length is 12,3 - 12,8 m, her hip height is 3,66 m, and her weight is approximately 8400 kg.

Not all tyrannosaurs were as large as the most famous specimens discovered.

Most of the fossils found were slightly smaller, with estimated weights ranging from 5,4 to 8 tons.

The Tyrannosaurus rex skull was a real killing machine.

The largest specimen found so far has a length of 152 cm. A characteristic feature of tyrannosaurs that distinguished them from other predatory theropods was a wide jaw and a relatively narrow snout. Thanks to this arrangement of the eyes, tyrannosaurs had stereoscopic vision.

The largest Tyrannosaurus rex tooth discovered is 30,5 centimeters long.

This makes it the largest tooth of any carnivorous dinosaur discovered to date. Tyrannosaurs had teeth of various shapes. The front part of the upper jaw had densely spaced incisors (4 on each side). Behind them were thicker ones, but also sharp, reminiscent of bananas. There were 12 of them on each side of the upper jaw.

The teeth were perfectly adapted for holding and tearing prey.

They were D-shaped in cross section, curved back, and had reinforcing ridges to prevent them from being easily broken.

Tyrannosaurus rex teeth were the first fossils ever found.

This discovery was made in 1874 by Arthur Lakes near Golden, Colorado. In the early 90s, Bell Hatcher discovered additional fragments of the part behind the skull in eastern Wyoming. Initially, the found fragments were attributed to other types of dinosaurs, not even theropods.

The first incomplete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex was discovered only in 1900.

The discoverer was Barnum Brown, who two years later discovered another, more complete (34 bones) skeleton in Hell Creek, Montana. The name "Tyrannosaurus" was only proposed in 1906, when Henry Fairfield Osborn, who examined both skeletons, concluded that they belonged to the same species. Until the end of the 50s, these were the only tyrannosaurus skeletons discovered.

Tyrannosaurus only gained popularity in the early 60s when more fossils began to be found.

In a short period of time, 42 of them were restored, some of them were almost completely intact. The skeletons were found in the American northwest. The completeness of individual specimens ranged from 5 to even 80%.

The most complete (over 90%) fossilized skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex is "Sue". The discovery was made by Sue Hendrickson, an American traveler and paleontologist.

She discovered the skeleton on August 12, 1990, on a reservation in South Dakota. She made the discovery by chance, since the skeleton of an Edmontosaurus had just been excavated in the area and paleontological work had been completed. While the paleontology team was leaving, the car's tire blew out, and while the team members went to the nearest town for help, Sue headed to a nearby cliff. There she found protruding fossilized bones that, when later identified, turned out to be the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

We owe such a complete skeleton of a dinosaur that died about 76 million years ago to environmental factors.

Shortly after Sue's death, she had to be submerged in water and mud, preventing would-be scavengers from dragging her skeleton around the area. The bones were mixed together with the fast flowing water, but the vast majority of them were not carried away by the current. Sue had a well-preserved skull with almost complete dentition and a large number of preserved bones. The skeleton of an adult Tyrannosaurus rex contained about 360 bones, of which about 250 were discovered at the Sue site.

The lifespan of tyrannosaurs is about 30 years. They reached sexual maturity at the age of 14, when their weight exceeded 1800 kg.

They did not reach a weight of 1 ton until they were 12 years old. Later, dynamic growth occurred and at the age of 20 the tyrannosaurus already weighed 5 tons. Such accurate estimates are possible due to the discovery of a large number of skeletons of different ages. The youngest tyrannosaurus skeleton found belonged to a two-year-old individual (the dinosaur weighed 30 kg), the oldest was 28-year-old Sue.

For a long time it was believed that tyrannosaurs walked on two hind limbs in an upright position. Only in the early 70s did scientists realize that maintaining this position was impossible and would lead to rapid degeneration of the joints.

The current vision of how these reptiles move, as presented in the Jurassic Park films, is the most likely. Their body was parallel to the ground, and their tail was extended back and served as a counterweight.

Tyrannosaurus's forelimbs were 1 meter long, so they were very short compared to the rest of the body.

Paleontologists are not sure of their purpose, some even considered them to be a vestigial organ. They could have been used to hold prey while the Tyrannosaurus rex bit it, or to inflict cuts while fighting other dinosaurs. There is also a hypothesis that male tyrannosaurs could use their forepaws to hold females during copulation.

It is difficult to estimate the population of tyrannosaurs.

More than 20 adults could live at the same time; with a smaller population, they would likely have gone extinct during the outbreak. The maximum number is said to be 328, but this is very unlikely.

There were probably 127 generations of these reptiles.

Taking into account their lifespan and the time frame in which they lived, this amounts to approximately 2,5 billion animals.

They were predators and scavengers.

Although some paleontologists consider them to be typical scavengers (due to their highly developed sense of smell), studies of damage to their bones indicate that they suffered injuries as a result of fighting defending prey.

They were also cannibals.

There is evidence of their cannibalistic behavior in the form of teeth marks on the bones corresponding to the teeth of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

They were probably active during the day.

This is evidenced by their excellent vision, which would not be so necessary for them at night.

They could form small herds.

Three individuals were found at one archaeological site, suggesting that at least some of them lived in groups. Hunting in groups may have been to their advantage, as heavily armored dinosaurs such as Triceratops were certainly not easy prey. The gregarious lifestyle of these reptiles is also indicated by fossilized footprints discovered in the Wapiti rock formation, left by three tyrannosaurs moving in the same direction.

The vision of tyrannosaurs was excellent and stereoscopic.

Studies in 2005 and 2011 showed that tyrannosaurs had stereoscopic vision over a visual field of 55 degrees in front of them, much better than modern birds of prey. Moreover, their visual acuity was 3,6 times higher than that of an eagle, and 13 times higher than that of a human. Tyrannosaurus was able to detect a moving spot at a distance of 6 km.

Their sense of smell was also excellent, the olfactory bulbs and olfactory nerves were very large compared to the rest of the brain.

Thanks to this, Tyrannosaurus could sense prey or carrion at very large distances, although the exact values ​​​​are impossible to estimate. If we compare their sense of smell with modern animals, we can probably assume that it was similar to the sense of smell of vultures.

The hearing of tyrannosaurs focused primarily on low tones.

Tyrannosaurs had large snails, and their hearing was likely focused on detecting traces of large quadrupedal thyreophora (armored dinosaurs) or ceratopsians (horned dinosaurs), hadrosaurs (duck-billed dinosaurs), and perhaps even some sauropods such as Alamosaurus.

They lived in different environments.

Tyrannosaurus fossils come from both inland areas and semi-deserts and subtropical coastal plains.

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