free debate

September 18, 2009

Tiny T-Rex

Tyrannosaurus rex is possibly the most famous dinosaur of all time. It's a very impressive dinosaur. They could be as much as 50 feet long and 20 feet tall, weighing in at at least 5 tons. It sported a massive head, teeth the length of bananas (but much deadlier), lanky feet to run with, and two arms that seem puny compared to the rest of it. T. rex was one of the largest carnivores to ever walk this planet, and certainly seems to fit its name: "Tyrant Lizard King."

Millions of years before T. rex wandered the Earth, however, its "mini-me" was wandering China. Raptorex is very nearly a scale model of Tyrannosaurus rex, but it is 1/100th of the size. That makes Raptorex about the same weight as a human! It lived around 125 million years ago, and had all the Tyrannosaur halmarks: massive head, tiny arms, runner's feet, and a great sense of smell. According to Paul Sereno, from the University of Chicago, the scaleability of the tyrannosaurid body type is very impressive. Over the course of 90 million years, little Raptorex evolved and grew into a creature that dominated Asia and North America, until the end of the dinosaurs 65.5 million years ago.