The largest known tyrannosaurus rex skeleton: Discovered in 1991, but only just characterised

An image of a t rex to illustrate the largest ever tyrannosaurus rex skeleton which has been found
© iStock/oversnap

Paleontologists have now characterised the largest tyrannosaurus rex skeleton ever. It was discovered back in 1991.

The largest tyrannosaurus rex skeleton is the largest terrestrial carnivore currently known to science.

The tyrannosaurus rex

© Amanda Kelley

The bone analyses revealed that this tyrannosaurus rex lived an unusually long and violent life. The body mass was approximately 8,870 kg.

Before this discovery, the largest body mass of a tyrannosaurus rex was 8,460 kg. It has an estimated weight of over forty percent greater than the next largest of the known dinosaurs, taxon.

The lead author Dr. W. Scott Persons, IV, of the University of Alberta, in Canada, commented: “This T. rex lived longer than any other yet discovered. Its skeleton is riddled with injuries that attest to the many battles fought over its lifetime.”

The discovery in 1991

The skeleton was actually discovered in Saskatchewan, Canada in 1991. However, the bones were surrounded by an extremely hard matrix. This, combined with the size of the specimen, made it very difficult and time-consuming to remove, assemble and study the skeleton.

Discovering more about the tyrannosaurus rex lineage

The study says: “Henry Fairfield Osborn first introduced Tyrannosaurus rex to the scientific community and the public in 1905 (Osborn, 1905). It has reigned as the quintessential giant carnivorous dinosaur ever since (Hone, 2016). As studies of T. rex and the rest of the Tyrannosauridae have progressed, it has become increasingly apparent that T. rex is far frotypical and representative of the theropod lineage as a whole.”

Did even larger dinosaurs exist?

This discovery suggests that different dinosaur types may have grown to significantly greater sizes than the currently known specimens.

The study explained: “[The specimen] offers support for prior hypotheses that a sampling bias occurs throughout the Dinosauria, making it likely that most taxa grew to significantly greater size than current known specimens indicate.”

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