In front is a Tyrannosaurus rex head and you can touch this one. It is made up of two halves joined together - on the left is a model of how the head might look with skin and eyes and the inside of the mouth. The skin is like grey leather and the eye is green. Feel the ridge on the head from halfway up the side towards the back and follow it up over the eye. On the right is a cast of half of the skull, as it might have been found as a fossil. Feel the length of the skull - is it longer than you? While large, the skull is not very heavy because much of the bone contained air pockets - just as well because holding up such a large head would be hard work.
Now feel the huge jawbone. Is this jaw the most powerful weapon of the Cretaceous? Built to crunch bone, studies show T. rex may have had the strongest bite force of any known animal.
Can you feel the teeth? T. rex had sharp teeth that were strong, cone-shaped and were of different sizes. The teeth also had small jagged edges, called serrations, on at least one tooth-edge. Serrations help cut through flesh and bone by a ‘grip and rip’ action. How useful these teeth would have been for eating large plant-eating dinosaurs or even for fighting each other! Like today’s reptiles and sharks T. rex teeth were continuously replaced. T. rex teeth have even been found in its poo, so we know they lost them even while eating!
Now - put your head inside its mouth. Scary isn’t it!
Tyrannosaurus rex, or the ‘Tyrant Lizard King’, roamed the North American landscape of forests and open plains and rivers, during the Late Cretaceous period, 68 to 66 million years ago. It probably lived in groups of mixed ages. The first almost complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton was discovered in 1902 at Hell Creek, Montana in the USA.
T. rex is about 3.5 tall at the hips and12 or so metres long, that is twice as long as a bus! It weighed between 6 and 7 tonnes, as heavy as an elephant (whose bones were more solid and weighed more than T. rex’s). The arms were only one metre long with 2 very short but strong fingers and their back limbs were much longer and stronger. It’s estimated T. rex clocked up speeds of 17 to 40 kilometres per hour.