Approximately 65% of this T.rex's skeleton was recovered - most of the skull and jaws, many vertebra and ribs, the hip bones, most of one hind leg, and assorted other bones.
Scotty's skull was not found in one piece. The many bones that make up the skull had become separated and were scattered across the quarry. Each bone was cleaned, and then molded and cast to produce replicas. The missing bones were reconstructed based on what palaeontologists know about T. rex skulls. Once all the parts were assembled, we could see what Scotty's skull looked like in real life.
Scotty's skull is an average size, for a T. rex. It is slightly over 1.32 m (4 feet) in length. T. rex had about 50 teeth in its mouth; the largest tooth is up to 30 cm (1 foot) long, although about two-thirds of that is root. The teeth have serrated edges and are curved backward, and are obviously designed for grabbing, stabbing and crushing.
T. rex's teeth were large but its brain was small - approximately 17 cm (6 3/4 inches) long. However, the organs responsible for smell were huge -- approximately 20 cm (8 inches) long. This would have given T. rex a very keen sense of smell and, as a result, palaeontologists think that T. rex was a scavenger rather than a hunter.
The quarry where Scotty was found is unusual. The conditions that favour the preservation of bone rarely favour the preservation of plant material. However, this quarry yielded not only the bones of other animals but also a variety of plant remains.
These plants indicate that Scotty lived in a broad river valley covered with a forest of broadleaf and coniferous trees. The presence of palms suggests that temperatures were warmer than present, and that freezing rarely occurred. However, 65 million years ago, Saskatchewan was situated much further north than today, so even though winters may have been warmer, they had much longer hours of darkness -- a situation that exists nowhere on earth today.
The other animals found in the quarry support the hypothesis of a warmer climate. They include fish, salamanders, crocodiles and crocodile-like reptiles called champsosaurs, as well as mammals and other dinosaurs.
WDM, Moose Jaw
April 2013 - October 2013
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