The Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the most studied and recognized dinosaurs in popular culture. Its name comes from the Greek Tyranno, which literally means tyrant or wicked, which was who had absolute power and the word Saurus which means lizard, so it is a tyrant lizard to which also is added the Rex, so his full name is the king of the tyrants lizards or predators, both for its size and power. Only one species of this dinosaur is known and it is believed to have lived approximately 65 million years ago in what is known as the Cretaceous period.
It was a really big dinosaur, it could measure up to 12.3 meters long, almost like a passenger truck and was thought to weigh between 6 and 18.4 tons. He also had a very large head, measuring one and a half meters, his head is one of the largest known. His big head was balanced by a very heavy tail to maintain his balance and allow him to walk; the Tyrannosaurus was a therapod, this means that he walked on two legs, these were covered with pads that not only protected him from the ground but were a kind of spring, at each step the Tyrannosaurus put great intensity that was transmitted throughout his body to maintain balance and speed.
One of the main characteristics of Tyrannosaurus Rex is that it had small upper limbs, a kind of hands that had two fingers with sharp claws, but don’t be fooled by its size and apparent fragility because they were so strong. What the Tyrannosaurus used these limbs for has been widely discussed, and there is still no sure answer, the theories range from using them for hunting or fighting, to getting up when they fell backwards, because there was no other way than by hand.
The Tyrannosaurus was fully described, in terms of how it looked and behaved in 1905 by Henry Fairfiel Osborn, however much earlier different remains were found mostly in North America. In 1874 a series of teeth were found in red, and in 1890 pieces of skull were found in Wyoming. In total, we have a little more than 30 specimens of Tyrannosaurus and fortunately we have almost complete skeletons, which has allowed us to characterize them and learn a lot about their appearance and habits. In this respect there are 3 complete skulls and these specimens were crucial in what was called the “War of Bones”. For all this and due to all its interesting characteristics it is one of the most studied and known carnivores.
The Tyrannosaurus was a carnivore, this means that he ate meat, he was in fact the largest carnivore in his area. Because of its size and strength it is believed to be an excellent predator, and perhaps its favorite prey were the Hadrosaurids and Ceratopsids. Although experts are sure he ate meat they are not 100% sure how he got that meat, as some are in favor of the theory that he was a hunter, while others believe he was a scavenger, this means he ate dead animals or prey that others had killed. What we are sure of was that it had a great power of destruction, its jaws measured around 1.4 meters and had curved and sharp teeth, more or less 20 centimeters, perhaps its bite was one of the most powerful and destructive of the dinosaurs we know of, as we know from its anatomy had a pressure force of 4 tons.
Its main virtue besides being extremely famous and represented in popular culture is that it has been extensively studied and of these studies there are still many doubts and controversies, yes, its main virtue is that it is terrifyingly controversial. For example, there are theories that say they may have had feathers, since close relatives had them and it may make sense that they had them too. On the other hand there is controversy about whether they were cold-blooded or hot-blooded, which would mean that they had very different lifestyles and that their activity and hunting would be totally opposite. Although in many representations they do, there are severe doubts as to whether the Tyrannosaurus was capable of running, according to its anatomy it is believed that it could have reached about 17 kilometers per hour, a speed much slower than its most common prey could reach. Perhaps what has led to the greatest controversy is whether they were predators or scavengers. There are even debates about whether there were differences between males and females or whether he was cannibalistic or not, it’s a really controversial dinosaur among scientists.
Where else can you find him?
Practically everywhere, in any documentary, film or activity that is related to dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus cannot be missing, besides that it is one of the most known dinosaur names in the world, you can see it in movies like Jurassic Park to Toy Story, it is really rare not to find a Tyrannosaurus. It is also in Robert Bakker’s book Dinosaur Heresies. Of course, we can’t forget that Barney, the purple dinosaur and friend of children, was in fact a Tyrannosaurus.