Arguably the most famous and the most notorious among dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus rex’s reputation far exceeds that of any other known dinosaur in the world. Having been immortalized on the big screen, this massive ferocious beast continues to give us the chills. Read on to learn 50 facts about one of the largest meat-eating dinosaur that has roamed our Earth: the T-Rex.
Fact 1: The name ‘Tyrannosaurus rex’ literally means “Tyrant King”.
- The word ‘Tyrannosaurus’ means ‘Tyrant Lizard’ in Greek, while the term Rex means ‘King’ in Latin.
Fact 2: The T-Rex dinosaur lived somewhere between 67 and 65 million years ago.
- That’s around the time of the Maastrichtian age, meaning that the tyrant lizard king lived during the Cretacious period, right up until the end of the Mesozoic era.
Fact 3: The T-Rex belonged to the group of the last non-avian (or non-aerial) dinosaurs.
- The group went extinct during the most famous mass extinction event on the planet to date, the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction (K-T Extinction).
Fact 4: The first-ever Tyrannosaurus rex fossil that was unearthed was in 1902.
- The skeleton was discovered by Barnum Brown at Hell Creek Formation’s Montana portion. However, the skeleton was incomplete.
Fact 5: Although a T-Rex is portrayed in the media with small arms, in reality, the T-Rex’s arms were actually pretty beefy!
- According to the Palaeontologist, Jack Conrad, a T-Rex’s bicep alone could curl and crush an object that weighed 430 pounds easily!!
Fact 6: An adult T-Rex might have sported a mullet of feathers on its head, neck, and tail.
- This came after the discovery of Yutyrannus Huali in 2012 (the Chinese T-Rex), which had six-inch feathers covering its body.
Fact 7: The T-Rex measured up to 43 feet long and weighed up to 7.5 tons.
- The Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the largest ‘land predators’ to walk the planet.
Fact 8: The T-Rex was almost re-named ‘Manospondylus gigas’.
- In 1999, fossil hunter Edward Drinker Cope had unearthed T-Rex vertebrae, which he dubbed “Manospondylus gigas,” some 13 years before the word “Tyrannosaurus” was ever coined, causing a brief debate.
Fact 9: The Tyrannosaurus rex had hawk-like vision.
- The lizard king had darn good eyesight, by dinosaur standards, all because of the special adaptations in its skull giving it binocular vision.
Fact 10: T-Rexes may have cannibalized on each other.
- Many Tyrannosaurus skeletal remains have been found with tell-tale bite marks that most likely came from other T-Rexes.
Fact 11: Rexes grew up at an astronomical rate.
- A study in 2004 found that between the ages 14 and 18 years, young T-Rexes or “rexes” would gain a whopping 5 pounds per day in weight.
Fact 12: A prime T-Rex specimen was once sold for over $8 Million!
- The Chicago Field Museum teamed up with McDonald’s and Disney to bring Sue (a stunning T-Rex specimen, whose skeleton was over 90% complete) to Windy City, after she was auctioned in 1997.
Fact 13: The chase scene in Jurassic Park probably couldn’t have happened in reality.
- Instead, it appears that the highest speed an adult T-Rex could move at would be walking pace, but its long legs would have made it a pretty fast walk by human standards.
Fact 14: It’s very possible that the T-Rex was both a Hunter and a Scavenger
- Like most modern carnivores, the dinosaur king would have fed on carcasses and live prey alike.
Fact 15: The world’s first known T-Rex footprint was found at a boy scout camp, in Philmont Scout Ranch.
- In 1993, the only documented T-Rex track in the world was discovered within the camp’s boundaries, in North Ponil Canyon by the Anasazi Trail Camp.
Fact 16: Buffalo, South Dakota is the self-described “T-Rex Capital of the World”.
- To date, there are 7 T-Rex skeletons that have been unearthed in this sleepy town of 330 people.
Fact 17: A display of mating T-Rexes can be found in Northern Spain.
- The Jurassic Museum of Asturias features a series of extensive dinosaur exhibits, one of which includes 2 Tyrannosaurus skeleton replicas mounted in a very speculative mating position.
Fact 18: The most complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex that has ever been found is ‘Sue’.
- The skeleton was named after the Palaeontologist who discovered it, Sue Hendrickson.
Fact 19: One bite from the tyrant lizard delivered a staggering 8000-pounds of force!
- The Tyrannosaurus Rex has one of the strongest bites of all the land animals that have ever lived on this planet.
Fact 20: The mouth of a Tyrannosaurus Rex possesses a set of teeth built to kill. The largest T-Rex tooth ever found is 12 inches or 30 centimetres long.
- An average T-Rex would have 60 teeth.
Fact 21: The different kinds of teeth found in a T-Rexs’ mouth served different functions.
- A study published in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences revealed that the dinosaur’s front teeth were meant for pulling and gripping, the side teeth were for tearing flesh, and the back teeth were meant for dicing meat chunks and pushing them down the throat.
Fact 22: The Tyrannosaurus Rexs’ favorite meals were Triceratops and Edmontosaurus.
- The 2 dinosaurs were both benign and were, unfortunately, part of the herbivore species belonging to the same era.
Fact 23: The T-Rex could eat up to 500 pounds of flesh in a single bite!
- Fossil records of the T-Rex’s victims showed evidence that the king of the dinosaurs would crush the bones of its victims while eating them.
Fact 24: The skull of a Tyrannosaurus rex could grow up to 5 feet in length.
- Consequently, its jaws could measure up to 4 feet in length, giving the T-Rex an immense bone-crushing strength.
Fact 25: Unsurprisingly, the T-Rex had a large brain fit for a massive predator.
- Scientists say that the extra big brain gave the killer lizard a keen sense of smell and vision.
Fact 26: Analysis of fossils has revealed that the T-Rex could only run between 17 kilometres to 20 kilometres per hour.
- Biomechanic experts think that the T.-Rex might have gotten around on legs held in a relatively straight position much like modern day elephants and rhinos.
Fact 27: The lizard king wasn’t the biggest meat-eating dinosaur during its time.
- The crown is held by the Giganotosaurus of South America and the Spinosaurus of Northern Africa.
Fact 28: The T-Rex’s mouth had so much bacteria in it that it delivered septic bites.
- Rexes ended up having meat chunks stuck between their teeth, and the decomposition of those meat chunks gave way to some nasty bacteria colonies. Any T-Rex victim lucky enough to escape would still die from an infection.
Fact 29: Scientists believe that the Tyrannosaurus Rex lived for 30 years on average.
- The largest and best-preserved T-Rex skeleton, belonged to a T-Rex which is thought to have lived to almost 29 years of age. It would have achieved ‘adult size’ by the age of 20.
Fact 30: The Tyrannosaurus rex lived in forested river valleys in North America.
- The species died out about 65 million years ago in the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction.
Fact 31: Tyrannosaurus rex was a species of Theropoda dinosaur that existed in the late Cretaceous period.
- Its close cousins were the Tarbosaurus and Gorgosaurus.
Fact 32: Contrary to popular belief, the Tyrannosaurus rex did not exist in the Jurassic period (199-145 MYA).
- In fact, it lived millions of years later during the Late Cretaceous,100-65.5 million years ago.
Fact 33: The Tyrannosaurus rex has long since captivated the public imagination since it ate its way onto the screen in “Jurassic Park.”
- The 1993 science fiction adventure film was directed by Steven Spielberg.
Fact 34: Another Tyrannosaurus specimen nicknamed ‘Stan’ was recovered from the Hell Creek Formation in 1992.
- The specimen was named inhonour of the Palaeontologist, Stan Sacrison and is the second most complete skeleton found, with 199 bones recovered representing 70% of the total T-Rex bone structure.
Fact 35: T-Rex hatchlings might have looked more like fluffy turkeys than small, terrifying predators.
- The hatchlings would have been covered in peach fuzz, similar to that of ducklings, losing most of their feathers as they aged.
Fact 36: Most of the T-Rex hatchlings didn’t survive past infancy.
- Unfortunately, a baby T-Rex’s survival rate was only around 60%. The low survival rate was mainly due to predation, disease, accidents, and starvation affecting the hatchling during its first year of life.
Fact 37: The king of the dinosaurs’ ancestors were considerably smaller and faster.
- While the T-Rex emerged about 68 million years ago, its ancestors were 100 million years older than that.
Fact 38: The T-Rex not only had amazing eyesight, but it had excellent hearing and an acute sense of smell as well.
- This made it hard for the dinosaur’s prey to detect the predator.
Fact 39: There’s still a debate on what a T-Rex’s exact skin colour was.
- Movies portray their skin as dark, but new museum exhibits suggest that the T-Rex could have been brightly coloured.
Fact 40: A 2016 study suggests that the T-Rex probably didn’t make a loud roar as depicted in the media.
- Instead, the predator most likely cooed, hooted, and made deep-throated booming sounds like an emu.
Fact 41: The T-Rex’s tiny arms served a dangerous purpose.
- Its arms were approximately 3 feet long and had crescent-shaped talons used to slash prey in close proximity.
Fact 42: The T-Rex used its large tail to balance itself.
- The dinosaur’s tail served to counterbalance the up-front weight of its freakishly big head.
Fact 43: The fearsome T-Rex might have been warm-blood rather than a cold-blooded killer.
- Chances are, its metabolism is similar to that of modern-day mammals.
Fact 44: It’s possible that the T-Rex came from Asia.
- Studies have revealed that the paleo beast could have been an invasive species from Asia, that crossed over the seaway between Asia and North America about 67 million years ago.
Fact 45: Over 50 Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons have been unearthed, according to National Geographic.
- Some of these remains are nearly complete skeletons, and at least 1 skeletal remain included soft tissue and proteins.
Fact 46: In a 2007 study, researchers concluded that the collagen proteins detected from a purified Tyrannosaurus rex bone closely matched with that of chickens.
- This was followed by frogs and newts.
Fact 47: T-Rexs were pack hunters.
- Since their sought after prey, Triceratops and Ankylosaurus had good protective defences, it has been thought that it may have been more effective for T-Rexes to hunt in groups, to break the strong defence barriers.
Fact 48: A T-Rex’s sense of smell is similar to a modern-day vultures’.
- The paleo beast’s highly developed sense of smell allowed it to sniff out carcasses over great distances.
Fact 49: T-Rexes had several long-lost relatives scattered around the globe.
- One of these was a cousin, dubbed the Pygmy Tyrannosaur. This dinosaur measured in at a hefty 20 feet from snout to tail, and even managed to survive in the Arctic.
Fact 50: The fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex was one of 3 dinosaurs that inspired the creation of the king of the monsters, Godzilla.
- Godzilla’s appearance was also based on the Stegosaurus and Iguanodon.