Fun Facts About T-Rex!

The Tyrannosaurus Rex, known as the T-Rex, was a very large and powerful dinosaur that lived on Earth millions of years ago. It was a carnivore, which means it ate other animals for food. The T-Rex had a big, strong body, long powerful back legs, and a large tail. It's big mouth was full of sharp teeth that it used to bite and tear apart its food. The T-Rex was one of the biggest and most fearsome dinosaurs that ever lived. Although the T-Rex is now extinct, scientists are still learning about these fascinating creatures and their life on Earth.

Tyrannosaurus Videos For Kids

What Does 'Tyrannosaurus Rex' Mean?

'Tyrannosaurus' is Greek for 'Tyrant Lizard' and Rex is Latin for 'King', so 'Tyrannosaurus Rex' means 'Tyrant Lizard King'. Why was the T-Rex called the king of the lizards? Similar to other dinosaurs it was called a lizard because it had scaly skin and came from an egg. And why king? Well, because it was a lot bigger than all other meat-eating dinosaurs found before it. As for the tyrant bit, a tyrant is a cruel and unfair ruler. If you can walk around all day eating anyone you like then that probably makes you a tyrant!

Who Discovered T-Rex?

The first partially complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton was found in Garfield County, Montana by a famous American fossil hunter called Barnum Brown, or 'Mr. Bones' as he was known. Brown worked at the American Museum of Natural History and found the skeleton in 1902, but he didn't give the dinosaur its name. The T-Rex was named in 1905 by Henry Fairfield Osborn, who was the president of the Museum.

What Did T-Rex Look Like?

The Tyrannosaurus Rex was a large and powerful dinosaur that lived millions of years ago in a time called the Cretaceous period. The T-Rex stood on two strong back legs. At the end of each leg were three forward-pointing clawed toes and a fourth toe pointing backwards. It had an enormous head and jaws, with saw-like teeth for catching prey and tearing it to pieces, as well as a long strong tail.

One of the most remarkable parts of the T-Rex are its two small arms, which are about 75 centimeters (30 inches) long, which is small compared with the rest of its body. Each had two large sharp claws at the end. There is a lot of debate amongst scientists about why such a big dinosaur has such small arms. Regardless of the small arms, this huge dinosaur with a large jaw full of sharp teeth would have been very frightening to see in person.

How Did Tyrannosaurus Rex Stand?

Whilst some cartoons show the T-Rex standing up straight, with it's head and body directly above its legs, scientists believe it actually held it's head forward, almost horizontal to the ground, ready to bite prey. Its tail went backwards to balance the weight of its head.

How Big Was T-Rex?

The Tyrannosaurus Rex was one of the largest land predators that ever lived. A large adult T Rex could have a body length of 12 meters (40 feet) from head to tail. That's longer than a normal school bus and about the same length as 3 cars parked bumper to bumper.

How big was a T-Rex? A T-Rex was longer than a school bus
How big was a Tyrannosaurus Rex? A Tyrannosaurus Rex was nearly as long as three cars parked bumper to bumper.

How Tall Was T-Rex?

Adult T-Rexes were 3.6 meters (12 feet) tall when measured from the floor to the top of their hips, so taller than a basketball hoop. The T-Rex's head was massive too, measuring roughly 5 feet (1.5 meters) in length. So the T-Rex's head was bigger than an entire child. The T-Rex was a truly massive animal and would have been an impressive sight to see.

How Tall Was A T-Rex? The top of a T-Rex's hips were taller than a basketball hoop

How Much Did T-Rex Weigh?

The T-Rex was a very big dinosaur! Grown up T-Rexes could weigh between 11,00 and 15,500 pounds (5,000 and 7,000 kilograms) according to the American Museum of Natural History. That means they would have weighed the same as one large African Bush Elephant or over 78 grown up men. One of the heaviest known T Rex's called "Scotty" was found in Saskatchewan, Canada and weighed almost 19,500 pounds or 9,000 kilograms. 

How much did a T-Rex Weigh? A T-Rex weighed about the same as an elephant
How much did a Tyrannosaurus weigh? A Tyrannosaurus weighed about the same as 78 men.

How Many Teeth Did T-Rex Have?

The T-Rex had a huge mouth with around 60 sharp pointed teeth that it used to catch and eat its prey. At different places within the T-Rex's mouth the teeth had different jobs, from nipping at flesh to crushing bones. 
The job of the teeth at the front of the jaw was to pull at their prey, nipping flesh from bones, but these teeth weren't designed to break the bones. The teeth at the back of the jaw were thinner and shorter and their job was to slice pieces from its prey.

The job of teeth on the side of the jaw was to pierce and puncture their prey's flesh, breaking bones and armor with a single bite. The teeth were serrated, which means they were like a saw. Scientists believe Tyrannosaurus could surprise its prey with a powerful bite and then pull its saw like teeth back through their victim's flesh and bones. As Tyrannosaur teeth could crush bones, they could even eat the bone marrow of their victims.

These side teeth were enormous, reaching 20 cm (8 inches) in length, or 30cm (1 foot) long including the root. Like spikes, the teeth were rounded at the base and narrowed to a sharp point. These thick banana-shaped teeth could withstand the strain of struggling prey and crunching through armor, when flat knife-like teeth could have broken. Interestingly the lower part of the T-Rex's jaw had a joint halfway along, which could have also helped absorb shock from struggling prey trapped in the Tyrannosaurus's vice like grip. Even if the T-Rex's teeth sometime did fall out, just like sharks today, the T-Rex was always growing new teeth.

How Strong Was A T-Rex Bite?

T-Rex has the strongest bite of any known land animal, with a potential bite force of around 12,800 pounds. That means when the T-Rex snapped its big jaws shut, it was like having an adult T. rex’s body weight or large African Bush Elephant falling on its victim. The bite force of a Tyrannosaurus was ten times as great as the strongest alligator bite. That makes the T. Rex the hardest-biting land animal ever known!

Was T-Rex A Scavenger Or A Preditor?

Imagine being bitten by a T-Rex. It would leave quite a mark, right? Well, through those marks left on the fossilized skeletons of other creatures, scientists are able to find clues about how a T-Rex hunted its prey. 

There have been several Triceratops fossils found with bite marks from T-Rex teeth, but that doesn't prove whether the wounds were made when a T-Rex ate the body of a dead Triceratops or hunted a live Triceratops.

A tooth from a T-Rex was found in the tail of a dinosaur called a Hadrosaur, which is a duck-billed dinosaur like the Parasaurolophus. The tooth broke off and the Hadrosaur must have escaped and left the T-Rex hungry, because the Hadrosaur healed and its own bones grew back over the tooth and bite wound. This proves that the T-Rex wasn't just a slow moving scavenger but would actually hunt live prey. 

The T-Rex would have scavenged food too. As the biggest predator in the ecosystem, if T-Rex found another predator eating a delicious meal, it could bully that predator and take their food, just as lions steal food from other meat-eating animals today. The Tyrannosaurus could also find food that other predators couldn't as its super strong bite meant it could crush bones and eat bone marrow.

How Did Tyrannosaurus Hunt?

So, we now know that Tyrannosaurus was both a scavenger and a hunter. But how did it hunt? We still don't know whether T-Rex was a stealth attacker, jumping out of the bushes or whether it ran after its prey. Some scientist think the T-Rex was too slow to chase most other dinosaurs and so it was most likely a stealth attacker. There is evidence that the T-Rex had a great sense of smell, which would have been useful as a scavenger to sniff out carcasses from a long way away, just like vultures do today. But that would also have come in handy for a hunter, enabling the T-Rex to smell live prey, especially if it hunted at night.

Did T-Rex Hunt In Packs?

Just like wolves today, T-Rexes might have been more effective hunters when they hunted as a pack. Fossilized footprints from Tyrannosaurs aged from 2 - 26 years old have been found moving together. That suggests the T-Rex could have lived together and hunted in a pack. But this evidence is not strong enough for us to know for certain. There are also signs this might not be the case, for example we know Tyrannosaurus sometime ate members of their own species, as several T-Rex fossils have tooth marks made by other T-Rexes.

Did Tyrannosaurus Have Hollow Bones?

The T-Rex did have hollow bones. One advantage of this was that the bones were strong without being heavy. Another was that, like birds today, dinosaurs could breath from both their lungs and from the air stored within their bones. This was particularly useful for big dinosaurs living in hot climates, as having oxygen in the blood helped keep them cool. Wow!

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