OMG! The Mighty T-Rex May Have Been Even Bigger Than We Thought

By Meera Dolasia on October 14, 2011

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Of all the dinosaurs known to mankind, it is the Tyrannosaurus Rex or T-Rex that captures our imagination the most, probably because it was the biggest and fiercest of them all. Now, a new study claims that we may have underestimated its size and weight by as much as, 30 percent!

The new measurements, a collaborative effort between British and American Paleontologists, were calculated using scans of the actual skeletons of five T-Rex fossils and are therefore deemed to be more accurate than the previous estimates, which were based on scale models.

The researchers began with Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History resident SUE - the largest, most complete and most preserved T-Rex fossil ever found. While the city's police department was able to scan the dinosaur's body using forensic scanners, SUE's skull, which measures a whopping 3.3 feet across and 5 feet long, was too big for normal scanners. Undaunted, the scientists took it for a little field trip, to a nearby Ford Car manufacturing plant where it was scanned using a machine, normally reserved for engines.

Once similar scans had been done on all five T-Rex skeletal remains, the team superimposed digital skins so that they could estimate the body volume more accurately. In order to get it as close to the real measurements as possible, they also separated each body part like the head, tail etc. and digital skin-wrapped them individually. Then, they added in estimates for the missing body parts like lungs, hearts and so on.

Since they had no idea how much fat each of the specimens carried when they stomped around the Earth, they modeled two sets of possible weights - one with skin sticking to the remains, the other, assuming more fat between the two layers. This gave them a lower and higher weight estimate.

What they discovered was that all of them were much bigger and heavier than had originally been thought. However, the biggest surprise was SUE. The original estimates put her somewhere between 4.5 - 6.0 tons. New estimates? A whopping 9 tons or about 18,000 pounds - And that, was the minimum weight!

Once they had figured out how big the adults may have been, the researchers focused their attention on the timing of the growth spurt. Beginning with a base case that the dinosaur baby was about 11 pounds when born, they started with the skeleton remains of a juvenile T-Rex and then inched their way to the adults. What they deduced was that the dinosaurs went through two major growth spurts - one when they were between 10-12 years old and the second between the ages of 17-18. During both periods the scientists estimate that they piled on as much as 3,950lbs a year - More than twice the original estimates!

However, being bigger wasn't better for these lumbering creatures. Thanks to the fact that most of the growth and weight occurred on their torso, while the legs remained relatively short, T-Rex's became slower and less agile as they aged - Just like us humans, except they were probably more impressive and ferocious to look at, then most human adults.

Resources csmonitor.com, dailymail.co.uk

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572 Comments
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  • maemae52
    maemae52Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 1:06 pm
    geez, how do they know which bones go to which dino guy
    • puglover67
      puglover67Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 12:34 pm
      I've seen Sue in real life before!
      • puglover67
        puglover67Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 12:34 pm
        Well her as a skeleton...
      • nikkiMonday, February 2, 2015 at 6:58 am
        that is humongose
        • your yoThursday, January 29, 2015 at 8:43 am
          wow
          • ceecee3
            ceecee3Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 3:47 am
            Woah......Wait. This is from 2011?
            • mikeSunday, November 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm
              Sue is a monstrous nightmare !
              • AngelTuesday, November 11, 2014 at 6:59 am
                Soooo cool
                • nikukyu
                  nikukyuSaturday, November 8, 2014 at 10:00 pm
                  I'm now craning my neck lol
                  • RockStar45Friday, November 7, 2014 at 10:37 am
                    SCAARRY!!!
                    • isac
                      isacMonday, October 27, 2014 at 8:28 am
                      wow I did not think they where so big I thought they where like 50 feet. I wish that dinos where not istinked and sorry I spelled two words wrong and I would like you to like and follow me

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                      amazing basically a sea horse
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                      I know i wouldnt have.
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                      Awesome who would of known?
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