Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the largest predators to ever walk the Earth. Growing up to 46 feet in length and standing 13 feet high at the hips, this meat-eater could weigh up to seven tons.
T. Rex was more than just enormous, it was ferocious. It had massive hind legs with three-toed feet, small, strong arms the size of a man’s, and a huge, heavy tail that was used as a counterbalance.
Its skull grew to five feet long and housed strong jaws that created a bone-crushing bite. It had nearly 60 serrated, razor-sharp teeth that grew up to six inches in length. With a name that means “tyrant lizard king,” this dinosaur feasted on the large herbivores of its time.
T. rex roamed the western United States and southwestern Canada during the late Cretaceous Period, about 66 to 68 million years ago. The specimen on display at Carnegie Museum of Natural History was discovered in 1902 by Barnum Brown and sent to the American Museum of Natural History. It was bought by the Carnegie Museum in 1941.
This specimen is extremely important because it is the holotype of the species. A holotype is a specimen upon which a given species is based. So, in other words, Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s T. rex is the ‘gold standard’ to which all potential fossils of this notorious meat-eater must forever be compared. Although a few specimens that are now known to belong to T. rex were found prior to the discovery of the holotype, the holotype was, by definition, the first fossil of the species to be recognized by science. Therefore, it can be considered the world’s first specimen of the world’s most famous dinosaur.
Photo Credit: Joshua Franzos for Carnegie Museum of Natural History