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Tyrannosaurus Rex

Paleontologists were shocked when they unearthed a near-complete skeleton of Tyrannosaurus in 1902. By its bones alone, the scientists knew they had found one of the biggest flesh-eating predators of all time. Its head was the size of an adult person. The Tyrannosaurus body could extend the entire width of a tennis court. Up to seven tons of muscle and other tissues filled out the rest of its sturdy frame. This was a monster carnivore that must have terrified all other dinosaurs during the Late Cretaceous. Evidence supports Tyrannosaurus’ killer reputation. A Triceratops hipbone, for example, was found covered in Tyrannosaur bite marks, including a large chunk of missing bone.

This suggests the predator could bite through every part of its victims with its 8-inch-long, cone-shaped, razor-sharp teeth. A fossilized lump of Tyrannosaurus dung, when analyzed, was found to contain multiple Edmontosaurus bones, further proving the claims. Recent studies also suggest that today’s lions — formidable predators in their own right — only have one-third the biting force of the Late Cretaceous predator. The Tyrannosaurus strutted its stuff back in the day. Research indicates the dinosaur kept its back level, held its tail still and then moved forward with a purposeful march. At least 11 different muscle groups in its legs allowed this natural athlete to haul its heavy body with a proud, erect forward motion. At times Tyrannosaurus likely sprinted over short distances at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, which is very close to speeds run by human Olympians. Each pillar-shaped hind limb ended with a four-toed foot that had heavy claws for grasping prey and for traction. Its extremely short forelimbs looked weak, but Tyrannosaurus could have bench-pressed two adult humans at once with just a single arm. Its hands also featured two fingers capped off by two ultra-sharp claws. It’s theorized that Tyrannosaurus patiently waited for unsuspecting victims before charging at them with toothy jaws agape. A “puncture and pull” technique then felled the target. The dinosaur’s other feeding method would have involved scavenging meat from corpses. Most scavengers subsist on rotting, unappetizing meat, but imposing Tyrannosaurus likely scared away other carnivorous dinosaurs and stole their kills, thus earning its “tyrant” name.

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