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Scientists have finally freed a T-rex skeleton from stone to discover it’s the biggest ever

Donna Coutts, April 1, 2019 6:45PM Kids News

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Dr Scott Persons looking at the skeleton of the Tyrannosaurus rex nicknamed Scotty. Picture: AFP/University of Alberta/Amanda Kelley media_cameraDr Scott Persons looking at the skeleton of the Tyrannosaurus rex nicknamed Scotty. Picture: AFP/University of Alberta/Amanda Kelley

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An enormous Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur nicknamed Scotty has been unearthed, the biggest ever discovered.

Scotty’s 66-million-year-old skeleton is about 65 per cent complete and includes some of its ribs, hips and leg bones. Scotty’s leg bones are so big it is thought it could have been 13m long and weighed 8800kg, making it much larger than the biggest African elephants.

Scotty the Tyrannosaurus rex at the T.rex Discovery Centre in Eastend, Canada. Picture: AFP/University of Alberta/Amanda Kelley media_cameraScotty the Tyrannosaurus rex at the T.rex Discovery Centre in Eastend, Canada. Picture: AFP/University of Alberta/Amanda Kelley

The skeleton was discovered in 1991 in Saskatchewan, Canada, near the border with the US but was encased in sandstone that took many years to remove.

The fossilised remains of more than 20 individual T-rex dinosaurs are known, with a range of builds and sizes from slimmer and lankier to thicker set or stocky. Of these, Scotty is thought to be a stockier build of T-rex and is the largest, heaviest and the oldest at 28-30 years old.

The findings of the study of Scotty’s skeleton by palaeontologists at the University of Alberta, Canada, are published in the journal The Anatomical Record.

Dr Scott Persons measuring a part of the skeleton. Picture: AFP/University of Alberta/Amanda Kelley media_cameraDr Scott Persons measuring a part of the skeleton. Picture: AFP/University of Alberta/Amanda Kelley

Dinosaur palaeontologist and lead researcher Scott Persons described Scotty as “the rex of rexes” in an interview with ABC, referring to his massive weight, size and age.

Scotty’s remains include a broken and healed rib, signs it had infected teeth and broken tailbones, possibly from the bite of another T-rex.

Some of Scotty’s massive teeth. Picture: AFP/University of Alberta/Amanda Kelley media_cameraSome of Scotty’s massive teeth. Picture: AFP/University of Alberta/Amanda Kelley

TYRANNOSAURUS REX
T-rex lived in river valleys of North America until about 65 million years ago and became extinct in the mass extinctions thought to be caused by an asteroid hitting the Earth in modern-day Mexico.

It was one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs that ever lived.

Its powerful thighs and tail helped it move quickly and its 1.5m-long skull could bore* into its prey.

It had serrated*, conical* teeth that it probably used to grip its prey, using its neck muscles to tear it apart. Its short arms may have held the prey but were too short to reach its mouth.

Scientists believe T-rex could eat up to 230kg of meat in one bite.

Source: National Geographic

A rampaging T-rex dinosaur in a scene from the film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Picture: supplied media_cameraA rampaging T-rex dinosaur in a scene from the film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Picture: supplied

GLOSSARY

  • palaeontologist: fossil scientist
  • bore: push a hole into
  • serrated: jagged edge like a saw
  • conical: cone shaped

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. When were the fossils first found? What was the delay?
  2. How old was Scotty when it died?
  3. What injuries does the skeleton show?
  4. Where did T-rex live?
  5. Were T-rex vegetarians?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Museum information plaque
Write an information plaque for Scotty for when/if he is included in a museum display. Include where/when Scotty was found, what is known about this individual Tyrannosaurus rex and what is known about the Tyrannosaurus rex in general.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science 

2. Extension
Use information in the article to help you solve these problems. You will also need to find some additional information to help you.

How many students in your class could a Tyrannosaurus rex have eaten in one bite?

Would this Tyrannosaurus rex have fitted in the length (not height) of a bus? By how much does it fit or not fit?

How much longer is the Tyrannosaurus rex skull than your head?

Use the details in the article to help you come up with two more problems to be solved. Ensure you can answer them and then ask a partner to solve them, while you solve theirs.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity 
Curriculum Links: English, Science, Mathematics
Extra Resources: Set of bathroom scales

VCOP ACTIVITY
With a partner see if you can you identify all the doing words/verbs in this text. Highlight them in yellow and then make a list of them all down your page. Now see if you and your partner can come up with a synonym for the chosen verb. Make sure it still makes sense in the context it was taken from.

Try to replace some of the original verbs with your synonyms and discuss if any are better and why.

HAVE YOUR SAY: If you could give Scotty a new nickname, what would it be? Why?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be shown until approved by editors.

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