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Why Were the T-Rexes Named Tyrannosaurus Rex? The Reason May Surprise You

"Tyrannosaurus Rex was the king of carnivores in the Jurassic period, but why were they named Tyrannosaurus Rex? Learn more here."

The Tyrannosaurus Rex was a fearsome and massive bipedal predator that lived around 66 to 68 million years ago. It’s probably a good thing that T-Rex lived so long ago because, if it were still around today, we would be in trouble. In reality, T-Rex wasn’t related to Allosaurus or Gorgosaurus at all—it’s part of a whole new family called Tyrannosauridae. 

In the 1800s, modern paleontologists were not just coming up with names that they thought were cool. They also look for the links between species and their evolutionary connection. One of the various species is Tyrannosaurus Rex and its cousins, such as Triceratops. 

How did this massive dinosaur get its name? As you may know, scientists named many dinosaurs after the Greek gods and goddesses. Let’s go back in time and look into how the T-Rex got its name and learn more about them while we’re at it.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex The Giant Carnivorous Dinosaur

The Tyrannosaurus Rex was a giant carnivorous saurischian dinosaur that may have been an apex ambush predator, scavenger, and cannibal despite its enormous size. Scientists believe the fearsome T-Rex hunted other dinosaurs, including Edmontosaurus and Triceratops.

As an apex predator, it had no real competition for food from other carnivore animals. For example, lions or tigers must defend their territories against other predators from time to time during hunting season to survive long enough for the breeding season. Tyrannosaurus Rex is the largest meat-eating dinosaur that ever lived.

The T-Rex would have eaten anything from small animals like insects or mammals to large animals like dinosaurs or other T-Rexes. The Tyrannosaurus Rex could run at 30 mph (48 km/h). It would have used its large size and speed for hunting down large herbivores, such as Triceratops, Ankylosaurus, Stegosaurus, and Torosaurus. 

It would then use its powerful jaws to kill them by biting through their necks or backs while still alive. If they could not kill them, they would have scavenged on dead bodies left behind by other predators. An example is the Gorgosaurus, which it would have eaten while they were still fresh enough for consumption.

Scientists think that Tyrannosaurus Rex may have lived in herds when young, but they were solitary as adults. They probably hunted in packs most of the time. It would have made it easier to take down large prey animals such as Triceratops or Ankylosaurus.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Here’s Why The Tail Of A Tyrannosaurus Rex Is So Huge

T-Rex used the huge size of its tail to help counterbalance its massive head and torso. As in crocodiles, some or all of the tail vertebrae of dinosaurs had air sacs, which may have helped make their tails more flexible. The tail of a Tyrannosaurus was extremely stiff. It made its body more stable when walking on two legs and allowed it to make abrupt turns when chasing prey.

The  Tremendous Skull of T-Rex

How did T-Rex support its huge head without toppling over? Scientists think that its muscular neck might have helped with this task by acting like a counterweight (the same way a see-saw works).

Some scientists believe that the T-Rex specifically used the head frills to defend itself against predators. We now believe that the T-Rex more likely used them for communication purposes. The crests on their heads were for display purposes and had some sensory function. 

The T-Rex has small air-filled holes in its skull called parietal fenestrae or sinuses. Sinuses are cavities in the skull that help them to regulate their temperature. 

T-Rex’s skull was over 5 feet long, and its body length was 40 feet. It weighed between 5,000 and 7,000 kg. The size of the Tyrannosaurus Rex was certainly imposing. T-Rex’s large skull and teeth were also likely a good defense mechanism against smaller predators. For example, the raptors would attempt to steal their prey away from them while they were busy eating it.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Why Is The T-Rex’s Bite So Powerful?

The jaws of the T-Rex were so strong that they could bite through bone like we eat candy. The T-Rex’s bite force of more than six metric tons was the strongest of any land carnivore ever studied. It is about 50% more than what a lion can exert. 

Its teeth were sharp and curved. There are 60 serrated teeth, like steak knives, each measuring 30 inches long. The T-Rex has the longest teeth ever found, and its jaw could open up to almost 90 degrees wide. T-Rex’s teeth have a banana-sized shape, and the jaws are massive. 

This powerful combination of size and shape allowed the T-Rex to crush anything it wanted to eat. For example, trees, cars (if they existed then), and animals—including other dinosaurs.

Cool Facts About T-Rex’s Eyes

T-Rex’s vision was similar to many other predators on Earth today. They have forward-facing eyes, giving them binocular vision, which means they can see in three dimensions (like humans). They were able to gauge distance on prey before striking.

A T-Rex’s eye sockets were almost the size of a basketball, and it had big eyes. This feature means it has an excellent vision at long distances. Some scientists believe its vision was not so good. There were no day/night cycles during the time in history when it lived.

The sensory organs allowed T-Rexes to detect movement from quite a distance. Scientists believe that Tyrannosaurus Rex had fabulous depth perception. They can see all the colors we see and even a way of seeing into the ultraviolet range of the color spectrum. This ultraviolet range is invisible to humans. It’s important for certain animals that live at high altitudes or in low light conditions, like bees and butterflies.

Imagine what it must have been like for a T-Rex. Imagine how much more awesome their lives were because of those superpowers. But what made T-Rexes so terrifying was their ability to detect movement. Their eyes were so sensitive that they could see prey moving as far away as three miles.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex’s Amazing Sense of Smell 

Scientists think the T-Rex may have had a killer sense of smell. They believe that a T-Rex rivaled modern-day vultures based on their large olfactory bulbs (part of the brain responsible for the sense of smell) and nerves. It’s not just that they could smell prey from miles away; they were also able to smell decaying meat from afar.

And if your first instinct is, “But how could they survive on so little food?” don’t worry: the T-Rex didn’t need much sustenance to keep its giant body going. Scientists believe that the T-Rex may have been able to digest food more efficiently than other dinosaurs. A T-Rex has an extremely large stomach (about the size of a brew kettle).

The T-Rex was not only a hunter but also a scavenger. They also scavenged on dead animals when they were hungry, or there was scarce food in their environment. Tyrannosaurus Rex was an apex predator at the top of its food chain due to its massive size and strength.

Tyrannosaurus  – Arms and legs 

Tyrannosaurus Rex had short arms with two fingers while other dinosaurs had three. These features made them strong enough to grab prey but not as flexible as other dinosaurs. They also had the smallest forelimbs of all the theropods proportionally. 

The short, stout humerus (upper arm bone) indicates that they could only lift their arms to shoulder height. They’re often dragging themselves across the ground with their back legs and tails.

Like most carnivorous dinosaurs, tyrannosaurids probably could move both limbs at once in the same direction, but not independently. Scientists call it “paraxonic,” It allows for greater speed and agility when running prey down or attacking it from multiple angles. T-Rexes are awesome, but did you know that they could run at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour (72 km/h) and over 30 feet (9 m) in one leap?

The claws on the feet of T-Rexes were small. They were probably enough to cause further damage when the animal had already attacked its prey with its massive jaws. Dinosaurs didn’t use their arms for hunting or defense. They used them for digging up food. T-Rex walked on its toes rather than its heels.

Brooding and nesting 

Tyrannosaurus Rexes were very protective of their nests made of leaves, twigs, and mud. The parents would hide the nests in dense vegetation to protect them from predators. Scientists believe that T-Rexes brooded over their eggs as many birds do. They may have stayed close to the nest while incubating their eggs, but we don’t know.

They may have been warm-blooded like birds and mammals today, which means they could regulate their body temperature. It would have made them great mommies.

When the babies hatched, they were very small and vulnerable. They may have been able to walk right away or need help from their parents to get around. Some scientists believe that T-Rexes cared for their young as modern birds do.   Researchers have not yet proven this to be true.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex – The King Of The Dinosaurs

Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the most famous dinosaurs globally, but it’s not only because of its size and ferocity. Paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn named this dinosaur Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1905. It’s a name that recalls an ancient legend about a tyrant lizard king.

What made this animal so special? It was the biggest carnivorous dinosaur ever found. It weighed between seven and 20 tons, which makes it about seven times heavier than any other carnivorous dinosaur found.

But if that weren’t enough to earn its title as King of Carnivores, consider this: T-Rex had a bite force of 8 tons. That’s more than three times stronger than any modern animal—even crocodiles. It can snap bones like twigs (or people). If a person were to try and fight one of these guys off with their bare hands, they’d probably get injured or killed by the sheer force of their bite alone.

What made these creatures so dangerous was their speed and agility. They could run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour (48 km/h) and leap over 30 feet (9 m) in one leap.

Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the most famous dinosaurs globally, and for a good reason. This giant, the carnivorous dinosaur, was one of the largest and most terrifying land predators.

But why were the T-Rexes named Tyrannosaurus Rex? Why not something more intimidating? After all, this dinosaur was the king of its kind. What about King Rex or something similar?

The answer comes down to paleontologist Henry Fairfield Osborn’s love of Greek mythology. In 1905, he named this new species after a character from Greek mythology: King Tros’ son Taras. Taras was in ancient times known by the nickname “Tyrannos,” meaning tyrant. Scientists were still unsure if “tyrannos” meant “king” or “ruler,” so they decided to call it Tyrannosaurus Rex instead.

Because of Dr. Osborn’s love of Greek mythology and his decision to name his discovery after a tyrannical godlike figure, we have one of the most famous dinosaurs today. According to scientists, the Tyrannosaurus Rex is not a dinosaur but a lizard.

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Final Thoughts

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the most fascinating creatures ever alive. Since the last surviving member of their species met its demise about 65 million years ago, the T-Rex has been the star and immortalized in movies, books, toys, and statues. 

We have one special dinosaur species to focus on for visual inspiration, the T-Rex. It makes sense that Tyrannosaurus Rex is often used as a reference point for comparisons when designers are creating sculptures or figurines for museums and exhibits

The Tyrannosaurus Rex has all the characteristics a great king must have if he is to lead a kingdom. T-Rex is not only the king but the greatest ruler of kings. This lizard king will live in our memories forever. 

We hope you enjoyed the article and now have a much better idea of what the biggest king of all dinosaurs looked like.

Charmaine Smit

Charmaine Smit

Writer

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