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Friday, July 6, 2007

Tyrannosaurus


T. rex skull.
Tyrannosaurus (meaning 'tyrant lizard') is a genus of tyrannosauridtheropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex, commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is one of the dinosaurs most often featured in popular culture around the world. It hails from what is now western North America.

Like other tyrannosaurids, Tyrannosaurus was a bipedal carnivore with a massive skull balanced by a long, heavy tail. Relative to the large and powerful hindlimbs, Tyrannosaurus forelimbs were small and retained only two digits. Although other theropods rivaled or exceeded T. rex in size, it was the largest known tyrannosaurid and one of the largest known land predators, measuring over 13 metres (43 feet) in length and up to 7.5 tons in weight.

Fossils of some T. rex have been found in North American rock formations dating to the very end of the Cretaceous Period (late Maastrichtian stage, 65 million years ago); it was among the last dinosaurs to exist prior to the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. More than 30 specimens of T. rex have now been identified, some nearly complete, which has allowed significant research into many aspects of its biology, including its life history and biomechanics. The feeding habits and potential speed of T. rex remain controversial

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