Tyrannosaurus rex – a deadly force

Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex)

The largest predator among dinosaurs

Tyrannosaurus (“lizard – tyrant”) – was one of the last and also the largest and most powerful predatory dinosaurs. The largest land carnivore of all time was heavier than an elephant and as long as the width of a tennis court. The lizard was so tall that it could see through the windows of the first floor.


Tyrannosaurus had a massive head (up to 1.5 m long) mounted on a flexible neck. His brain was long and narrow. He had well-developed senses of sight, hearing and smell. The forward-facing eyes made it easier for the Tyrannosaurus to accurately judge the distance as it lunged at its prey, with bared teeth in mouth open. The tips of the teeth of the upper jaw formed a curve resembling a scalpel blade.

Tyrannosaurus could pierce the hard skin of herbivores with sharp, serrated teeth and then cut off the flesh with jerky movements of the head. The largest teeth were 18 cm long and had serrated edges like a meat knife. When a worn tooth fell out, another tooth sprouted in its place.

Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex) – Sue FMNH PR 2081. One of the largest, most extensive, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimens ever found, at over 90% recovered by bulk. It was discovered on 12 August 1990, by Sue Hendrickson, an explorer and fossil collector, and was named after her.


Compared to the massive hind legs, the front paws appear absurdly tiny, no longer than human ones and tipped with 2 fingers. They look too small to be useful during an attack and too short to feed into the mouth of a tyrannosaur. We know they were well-muscled. Perhaps the animal supported them on the ground while standing up or used them as boarding hooks in confrontation with the victim.

T. rex – predator or scavenger?

Individually, in pairs, or packs, tyrannosaurs followed the wandering herds of great herbivores, waiting for the weak, young and sick. Sometimes they hunted from an ambush, catching their prey after a short chase – they could run at a speed of over 40 km / h. Most specialists, however, question such views. They consider the tyrannosaur to be a slow scavenger, although today none of the great terrestrial carnivores stop at carcass.

Most paleontologists recognize that Tyrannosaurus rex was both an active predator and a scavenger.

Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex)


In the past, Tyrannosaurus was often incorrectly depicted with a steeply raised back, broad belly, straddling, and a snaky tail (usually dragged along the ground). We know today that Tyrannosaurus walked with his back horizontal, head raised, and body balanced by his tail pointing stiffly back.

Dinosaurs larger than T. rex

Recently, skeletons of even larger predators have been found in South America, such as Giganotosaurus / gigas (“giant”), notos (“south”), and sauros (“lizard”) – “giant southern lizard” / had a skull length of 1.83 m.

The largest known skull of T. rex (designated MOR 008), discovered in Montana in the 1960s, was about 1.5 meters long.

In the articles devoted to the largest predatory dinosaurs, we present the lists of The longest predatory dinosaurs and the heaviest predatory dinosaurs. As you can see, several reptiles were larger than the title character of today’s article.

Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex). The massive Tyrannosaurus tail counterbalanced the heavy head.

Data / Dimensions (size)

Tyrannosaurus rex

  • Length: up to 13 meters (42.7 ft)
    • the largest complete skeleton (Sue) is 12.3 meters (40 ft) long)
    • In 2019, a 13-meter-long (42.7 ft) Scotty skeleton was reconstructed
  • Height: up to 3.66 m (12 ft) from the ground to the hip joints
  • Skull: 1.5 m (4.9 ft)
  • Teeth: up to 31 cm (12.2 in) including the root length. A hippo has teeth of this length.
  • Weight: up to 9 tons (19,842 lb)
    • Scotty 8800 kg (19,400 lb)
    • Sue 8400 kg (18,519 lb)

The incomplete findings of the UCMP 118742 and UCMP 137538 (15.3 m; 16.5 tons) tyrannosaur skeletons, indicated that the T. rex could have been larger than previously thought. However, current estimates do not confirm this.

  • Lifespan: about 30 years
  • Speed: 17 – 40 km/h (10 – 25 mph)
  • Lived: 68-66 million years ago / Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian)
  • Food: large herbivorous dinosaurs
  • Occurrence: Canada, USA (South Dakota, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming)
Size comparison: Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, Carcharodontosaurus saharicus, Giganotosaurus carolinii, Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex)


  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Clade: Dinosauria
  • Clade: Saurischia
  • Clade: Theropoda
  • Family: †Tyrannosauridae
  • Subfamily: †Tyrannosaurinae
  • Genus: †Tyrannosaurus
  • Species: †Tyrannosaurus rex
Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex). Reconstruction of the T. rex type specimen (CM 9380) at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


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