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A Report by Andrew Collins
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Author Topic: Tyrannosaurus  (Read 3301 times)
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« on: July 23, 2007, 01:24:38 pm »


Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the largest land carnivores of all time, measuring 12 to 13 meters (40 to 43.3 feet) long, and 4.5-5 m (14-16.6 ft) tall, when fully-grown.[1] Mass estimates have varied widely over the years, from more than 7,200 kilograms (8 tons),[2] to less than 4,500 kg (5 tons),[3][4] with most modern estimates ranging between 5,400 and 6,800 kg (between 6 and 7.5 tons).

The largest known T. rex skulls measure up to 1.5 m (5 ft) in length. Compared to other theropods, the skull was heavily modified. The skull was extremely wide posteriorly, with a narrow snout, allowing some degree of binocular vision. Some of the bones, such as the nasals, were fused, preventing movement between them. Large fenestrae (openings) in the skull reduced weight and provided areas for muscle attachment. The bones themselves were massive, as were the serrated teeth which, rather than being bladelike, were oval in cross-section. Like other tyrannosaurids, T. rex displayed marked heterodonty, with the premaxillary teeth at the front of the upper jaw closely-packed and D-shaped in cross-section. Large bite marks found on bones of other dinosaurs indicate that these teeth could penetrate solid bone. T. rex had the greatest bite force of any dinosaur and one of the strongest bite forces of any animal. Worn or broken teeth are often found, but unlike those of mammals, tyrannosaurid teeth were continually replaced throughout the life of the animal.[1]

The neck of T. rex formed a natural S-shaped curve like that of other theropods, but was short and muscular to support the massive head. The two-fingered forelimbs were very small relative to the size of the body, but heavily built. In contrast, the hindlimbs were among the longest in proportion to body size of any theropod. The tail was heavy and long, sometimes containing over forty vertebrae, in order to balance the massive head and torso. To compensate for the immense bulk of the animal, many bones throughout the skeleton were hollow. This reduced the weight of the skeleton while maintaining much of the strength of the bones
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