Canadian palaeontologists have revealed details of the largest T. rex ever found. The vast creature measures a whopping 13 meters (43 feet) in length, making it the world’s biggest carnivorous dinosaur and, incredibly, the most titanic terrestrial predator known to science.
Scotty the dinosaur, named after the bottle of scotch drunk to celebrate its discovery, was originally discovered in 1991. However, it was trapped inside very hard sandstone, meaning it took a decade to excavate. Now the skeleton has been fully assembled, allowing scientists to properly study it for the very first time. Their conclusion: it was an absolute unit.
In life, Scotty would have weighed an enormous 8,800 kilograms (19,400 pounds). That’s equivalent to 1.5 African elephants, 22 grand pianos, or 3.5 blue whale tongues.
"This is the rex of rexes," lead author Scott Persons, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alberta, said in a statement. "There is considerable size variability among Tyrannosaurus. Some individuals were lankier than others and some were more robust. Scotty exemplifies the robust. Take careful measurements of its legs, hips, and even shoulder, and Scotty comes out a bit heftier than other T. rex specimens."
Although previous size estimations of Spinosaurus, another kind of carnivorous dinosaur, suggest it was larger than Scotty, the authors of the new paper criticize the techniques used to determine its size, noting that "it may not, at present, be possible to reasonably estimate the mass of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus." So, until a more reliable estimate can be made, Scotty remains a giant among meat-munching dinos.
Scotty’s skeleton was discovered in the Frenchman Formation, near Eastend in Saskatchewan, Canada. The hulking dino would have roamed the area about 66 million years ago and is the largest dinosaur ever found in Canada. The researchers were unable to deduce whether the specimen is male or female, and have reported their findings in The Anatomical Record.
In addition to being the world’s chonkiest T. rex, Scotty also lived the longest, likely surviving into its 30s. "Scotty is the oldest T. rex known," said Persons. "By which I mean, it would have had the most candles on its last birthday cake. You can get an idea of how old a dinosaur is by cutting into its bones and studying its growth patterns. Scotty is all old growth."
But despite surviving into old age, Scotty suffered various injuries, suggesting it had a pretty violent life. The dinosaur shows signs of a jaw infection, broken ribs, and a large bite on its tail, possibly from a smaller, but feisty, T. rex.
We’re still discovering new things about prehistory’s most revered predator, from its sneaky stalking skills and ominous rumblings to the fact it couldn’t stick out its tongue. Persons notes that “there will always be bigger discoveries to be made", but for now, Scotty remains the biggest known meat-eating land animal to roam the Earth.
If you’re in Canada and would like to visit Scotty the sizeable dino, its impressive skeleton will be displayed at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum from May 2019.