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Tell me about: Tyrannosaurus Rex - Facts for Kids

Updated: Sep 6, 2022

Welcome to a new Imagining History Series - our Guide to Dinosaurs! Yes, everyone loves those super massive lizards. I do. You do. We all do. After all, what's not to like? Giant beasts the same weight as tanks and the same size as buses stalking the Earth? Yes please. Each week we'll be taking a look at a different Dino. To start off with, we're investigating the most famous Dinosaur of them all - Tyrannosaurs Rex.

What does Tyrannosaurus Rex even mean?

It comes from Greek and Latin and means 'Tyrant Lizard King'. Which, I think we can all agree, is an awesome title.

What did Tyrannosaurus Rex look like?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Take a look at this image and just bask in T-Rex's fearsome glory:

A Terrifying T-Rex - courtesy of magikstar

When did T-Rex roam the Earth?

That would be waaaaaaay back in the Cretaceous Period, around 65 million years ago. T-Rex hung out in what is now America and Canada. It lived at the same time as some other mega star Dinosaurs: Triceratops and Ankylosaurus.

Courtesy of Conty

How big was it?

Very big. The T-rex could grow up to 40 feet long - that's the same length as a bus - and twelve feet high - that's the same height as your Dad stood on my Dad's head. The T-Rex was weighty too, weighing up to 15,500 pounds - that's the same weight as an African Elephant.

How long did T-Rex live?

Scientists - doing some clever sciency stuff that I don't quite understand - have discovered that the T-rex lived to around 28 years old.

Did it eat meat?

You betcha! A lot of meat too. Recent research even suggests that Tyrannosaurus Rex was a cannibal - it ate other T-Rex's. Which, let's face it, is very impolite table manners.

Oh my, what big eyes you have.

T-Rex had eyes the size of oranges. Not those little tiny ones you get from Asda, I'm talking those big fresh oranges that are only available at Marks and Spencer. T-Rex had the biggest eyes of any land animal, which meant it had incredible eyesight for spotting prey too.

Oh my, what sharp teeth you have.

The T-Rex had 50 - 60 banana sized teeth that were razor sharp. Each tooth was serrated like a steak knife - so the T-Rex would have been able to saw, puncture and rip meat. The T-Rex's jaws had such force that it could loose several teeth whilst biting (likely leading to a terrified tooth fairy when she checked under Rex's pillow). Fortunately, the T-Rex could grow new teeth if any snapped off. Beneath each tooth were another three or four growing to replace it.

Did it have a powerful bite?

An unbelievably powerful bite. One snap of a T-rex's mighty jaws could unleash 57,000 newtons of bite force. Now, I've no idea what 57,000 newtons looks like or means. So, how about this: if a T-Rex bit your arm it would do so with the same force as an Elephant sitting on your poor unfortunate limb. Plus, the T-Rex wouldn't even chew, it would shallow your arm whole!

Here's a handy comparison for you: the White Shark can manage a bite force of only 20,000 newtons, if a T-Rex could swim it would have a White Shark for breakfast.

Could a T-rex swim?

I had a feeling you were going to ask that. New research suggests that most Dinosaurs could swim - even big ol' T-Rex. Researchers called their swimming stroke the "Dino Paddle".

Jurassic Park poster circa 1993

How fast could it run?

Great question, and one Palaeontologists are yet to agree on. Could a T-Rex keep up whilst chasing a jeep or a person wearing high heels? Maybe. Scientists reckon that T-Rex could run at about 10 miles an hour, any faster and its bones would break due to its massive size. That means T-Rex could catch up with a person running in high heels but that jeep would be long gone.

When was T-Rex first discovered?

As we all know, Dinosaurs don't exist any more (boo!) The only way we know about them is from having found their fossilised bones buried deep in the ground. It was the Palaeontologist Barnum Brown who, in 1902, found the first T-Rex buried in Montana.

So, what's all this about Dinosaur's having feathers?

It's true! New research out of China suggest that many Dino's were covered in a plume of feathers. This includes T-Rex. Yes, the Tyrant Lizard King was likely covered in a footballer's mullet of brightly coloured feathers along its head, back and tail.

So, ignore the image above - sorry! - T-Rex probably looked more like this:

By RJPalmerArt

Why did the T-Rex have such tiny arms?

No-one is quite certain. Some scientists think that if the Dinosaurs hadn't died out then the T-Rex may have continued evolving until its arms disappeared entirely - so it would look like a big snake with legs basically. Don't make the mistake of thinking those tiny arms were weak however, as a T-Rex could bench press 500 pounds. This means its arms were three times stronger than a humans. So, word of warning, please don't challenge a T-Rex to an arm wrestling contest. You'll lose.

And then the T-Rex will eat you.



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