Tyrannosaurus rex, the 67-million-year-old king of dinosaurs, is taking the throne as quickly as as soon as extra — this time, on the Upper West Side, and with a 21st century twist.
The centerpiece of the American Museum of Natural History’s new exhibit, “T. rex: The Ultimate Predator” is a fearsomely right duplicate of the varsity bus-size Mesozoic lizard, full with eyeballs as large as oranges, footlong tooth as thick as bananas and . . . a head of fluffy feathers?
“We know that these animals were feathered because we found close relatives that were feathered,” curator Mark Norell tells The Post. He says that whereas the full-grown mega-predator had every tail plumage and “a bit of a toupee,” a new youngster T. rex would have been totally coated in birdlike feathers.
On present proper right here is a downy dino hatchling, the size of a skinny turkey. Much higher is the lifelike model of a 4-year outdated T. rex on the road to 9-ton maturity: The typical T. rex gained a whopping 140 kilos month-to-month all through its marvel years.
“I guess the Atkins diet didn’t work out,” quips Gregory Erickson, a paleontologist from Florida State University who consulted on the exhibition. “They were eating machines.” Watch as a full-grown dinosaur skeleton seemingly entails life under your ft, by the use of a sequence of projections on the bottom beneath the fossil.
Paleontologists say ultra-precise mathematical fashions and several types of cutting-edge science have helped them piece collectively merely what these monsters appeared like. Among their findings: Dinosaurs had puny, vestigial arms — evolutionary leftovers — which have been nearly ineffective. Brain scans of fossilized skulls suggest the T. rex used its keen sense of scent to hunt out its prey.
Budding paleontologists can use digital CT scanners and microscopes to find a fossilized dino thigh bone at a mock lab bench, assemble a skeleton in a digital archeological web site with virtual-reality goggles and chase T. rexes of their pure habitat by the use of animation.
If you questioned about that Jurassic bark — properly, so do scientists. “Sounds don’t fossilize,” Erickson explains. A “roar mixer” lets museumgoers compose their very personal sounds by combining the cries of elephants, bison, whales and crocs.
On view, too, though not for the squeamish, are coprolites — fossilized feces — that current T. rex ate up duck-billed dinosaurs and triceratops.
Talk about fossil fuels.
Although a “roar mixer” will allow visitors to DJ their very personal T. rex sounds by combining these of newest elephants, bison, whales and crocs, not a lot is known about T. rex’s Jurassic bark. “Sounds don’t fossilize,” says Gregory Erickson, a paleontologist from Florida State University who consulted on the exhibition. “Some people have speculated by looking at birds which are dinosaurs, and also crocodiles . . . it’s so big it would’ve had a deep, bellowing sound, not roaring like a lion.”
Erickson contends that there are some points we’ll under no circumstances know regarding the now-extinct creatures, “I just try to find segues from what we have available, mostly bones, to answer some biological questions.” When it entails sound, as a scientist, Erickson says he has “to think about the resonance of the skull, whether it had a cold or not.”
They measure about a foot prolonged each, with two-thirds hidden above the gumline, and each as thick as a banana. “[The pressure of a T. rex bite] would cause a bone to just blow up, it wouldn’t create a hole, it would explode,” says Mark Norell, the curator of the exhibit. Recently exhumed fossilized feces — or “coprolites,” for these with a weak stomach — with pulverized skeleton fragments of various species, present that the dino was able to digest bone, an practically unheard-of ability.
A tailbone from a duck-billed dino with a T. rex tooth embedded (adults went by way of a full dental set every two years) is on present on the exhibit.
“Feathers originally evolved in dinosaurs for warmth, they were endothermic,” says Norell, “Just like mammals had to have hair, they had to have feathers.” The evolution of the dino’s ’do had a lot to do with its internal temperature. “Once you get up to a certain size, your problem is keeping cool,” says Norell, who posits that alongside with warmth, youngster rexes needed their fluffy armor to camouflage themselves. The excessive predator isn’t the one one with a mushy visage, with many additional historic reptiles exhibiting associated varieties. Says Norell, “We’ve found hundreds of feathered dinosaurs in Northeastern China.”
It’s exhausting to think about the ultimate phrase predator was as quickly as a weak hatchling. But sooner than you cuddle up, know that the new child T. rex’s tooth, although not however capable of biting by way of bone, have been sharp as a knife. It is estimated that 50 % of kid T. rexes wouldn’t survive to see maturity, dying from starvation, sickness and even being eaten by their very personal — higher T. rexes!
T. rex was primarily a “headhunter” primarily based on Norell — and by no means the corporate kind. Younger rexes would have been able to make use of their arms to grab prey and feed themselves, nonetheless as the large carnivore grew, its large head grew to develop into additional useful in trying and its famously tiny arms grew to develop into ineffective tools.