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Tyrannosaurus rex Archives
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rex was one of the largest predators ever to have walked the earth.
The skull of Tyrannosaurus rex was up to 5 feet (1.5 meters)
long and equipped with 6-inch (15 cm) teeth. T. rex had massive
hind legs and large, three-toed feet. The heavy tail counterbalanced
the great body weight over the hips.
Shortly after the
first skeleton of this large predator was collected by the famous dinosaur
hunter Barnum Brown in 1902, its skull and skeleton were reconstructed
for exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
The skeleton was sold to Carnegie Museum of Natural History in 1942,
arriving safely in Pittsburgh in 15 wooden cases and four paper cartons—for
a grand shipping total of $108.
Carnegie Museum's specimen is especially
important because it was the specimen on which the original description
of the species was based in 1905. It is distinguished by the classification
of "holotype," which means it is the specimen to which all other members
of its species are compared
the inside scoop!
the play-by-play as two battling T. rex specimens are reconstructed in Dinosaurs in Their Time after nearly three years of renovation? These behind-the-scenes shots let you in on the action!
Click on dates or camera angles to view video in a new window.
August 5-9, 2005 (4.2 Mb .avi file, 30 seconds)
The sacrum is the last bone to be removed. First they
weld braces to a steel shipping cage and suspend it over the bone.
Next Larry custom-fits the cage securing the sacrum within. When
all the preparation is complete, the team uses the crane to lift
the cage and then cut the remaining supports connecting the sacrum
to the base.
August 3, 2005 (3.0 Mb .avi file, 22 seconds)
Paul wraps protective plastic around the pubis and then
the crew removes it. Brian extends the work platform so the crew
will have a solid foundation to work from when they crate the sacrum.
August 1-2, 2005 (3.9 Mb .avi file, 28 seconds)
The rest of the legs are disassembled and crated. First
Paul welds more reinforcing steel to the support structure, then
the left tibia and fibula are removed followed by the right femur,
tibia, and fibula.
July 28, 2005 (3.0 Mb .avi file, 22 seconds)
Phil’s crew need the crane to help remove and place
the left femur into its shipping crate. Unlike the right femur,
this fossil bone was not found completely intact – but even
though the bone is partially reconstructed with plaster, it still
weighs about 300 lbs. The right femur was found whole and weighs
about 500 lbs.
July 27, 2005 (3.3 Mb .avi file, 24 seconds)
The rest of the dorsal (back) vertebrae and ribs are
removed. The last vertebra is hidden from a side view since it’s
tucked within the sacrum (in the pelvis). Next the crew takes off
the feet and transfers them to the sandbox.
July 26, 2005 (3.5 Mb .avi file, 25 seconds)
Larry and Paul continue removing dorsal (back) vertebrae
July 25, 2005 (3.8 Mb .avi file, 27 seconds)
Larry and Paul begin removing dorsal (back) vertebrae
and ribs. Some of the fossil bones are incomplete, and during the
original reconstruction, plaster was used to fill in the gaps.
Occasional dust clouds spout up when we cut through the plastered
July 22, 2005 (3.0 Mb .avi file, 21 seconds)
Larry and Paul remove the caudal (tail) vertebrae up
to the pelvic girdle. Brian cuts another large piece from the back
of the exhibit platform.
July 21, 2005 (4.9 Mb .avi file, 36 seconds)
Paul works with Larry, Brian and Bob to remove the cervical
vertebrae (neck), the forelimbs and the abdominal ribs.
angle (4.1 Mb .avi
file, 30 seconds)
Mb .avi file, 29 seconds)
T. rex loses its head. Larry, Paul, Brian, and
Bob are all needed to remove the two halves of the lower jaw and
place them in the crate on the forklift. Then the crew gingerly
removes the rest of the head and lowers it with the crane into
its packing crate. Brian and Paul extend the platform's second
tier, and Larry continues removing the tail.
July 18-19, 2005 (3.4 Mb .avi file,
Larry, Paul and Brian finish removing all of the exhibit
material down to the original exhibit platform (an angled shape).
The entire crew assembles Brian’s double-deck work platform
and Paul takes about 15 feet off of the T. rex tail. The
design of the support structure holding the vertebrae is different
from the other dinosaurs' – Larry is able to remove large
segments of the tail rather than removing vertebra one at a time.
July 5-8, 2005 (3.8 Mb .avi file, 27 seconds)
Paul continues to reduce the size of the platform, removing
another 3 feet from the front edge. Brian crates the Triceratops skull.
Packing the skull safely requires a crate to hold the weight of
the skull and its display stand – between 1200 lbs and 1500
lbs. When it comes time to add wheels, Brian and Paul use the crane
to temporarily lift everything.
June 30, 2005 (3.1 Mb .avi file, 22 seconds)
The original platform for T. rex was much smaller,
but was expanded over the years to accommodate other exhibitions,
including the tails of Apatosaurus and Diplodocus.
As work continues reducing the platform, the Triceratops skull
is detached from the display base and a small section of the T.
rex tail is removed.
June 29, 2005 (3.9 Mb .avi file, 28 seconds)
The last fossil bone from Diplodocus will remain
mounted until a special shipping crate arrives. In the meantime,
work begins on T. rex. The first job is to cut off the sides
of the T. rex exhibit platform so it will fit within the
span of the gantry crane.