It was not one species but three different ones.

  • 38

“Having a name only increases the fear of what is named”, said the famous animal activist HJ Granger; but who is not going to be afraid of a bug that is 13 meters long and weighs 9 tons? Who is not going to be horrified by those sharp teeth, those claws, that mass of flesh and bone and ravenous hunger running at more than 30 kilometers per hour? In this case, fear the name of tyrannosaurus rex It is a direct consequence of what was named: one of the most gigantic predators in the history of the Earth.


Pieces that don’t fit… That is why, in part, we have become obsessed with them, we have studied them in detail and we have not stopped rebuilding them. However, we have never fully understood them. It was as if the pieces did not quite fit together, as if what we knew about the ontogenetic development of the animal did not quite form an organic whole.

Bones in the fossil record, for example, varied in density and robustness. Moreover, we found specimens that had one pair of incisors, but also specimens that had two pairs.

…because they are not from the same puzzle. Gregory Paul and your team decided to turn the issue around. They studied 37 specimens attributed to t rex and analyzed the length and circumference of the thigh bones with the idea of ​​evaluating their robustness. Their strange conclusions, but they make sense: it is very unlikely that the differences that exist between the analyzed bones are due to individual variations.

A variation too large not to be suspicious. “We found that the robustness in the sample we have of tyrannosaur, the variation of the femur is greater than that of all other tyrannosaurids combined over 10 million years of evolution,” Paul explained. We are talking about differences too big not to set off all the alarms. Above all, because the differences in density are not related to the total size of the specimen or the estimated age at the time of death. It doesn’t seem to be a gender issue either.

The idea that the dinosaurs had been extinct for 10 million years before the meteorite gains strength, according to a study with computational models

three species. Clearly, there is still much to be done and all the alternative explanations cannot be ruled out and, in fact, there are paleontologists who they are not convinced at allbut the team is clear that the one that best fits is that where until now we saw only one tyrannosaurus rex there are three: t-rex, emperor and queen.

The idea is suggestive. Above all, because it is the largest study done to date and explains some things that, until now, had been difficult to fit. However, it runs into the same kind of problems that all dinosaur studies run into: there is little material to study in depth. And even if we have it, we have the example of the feathers to know how much it costs to eliminate a social image when it is well established.

Image | Jon Butterworth

“Having a name only increases the fear of what is named”, said the famous animal activist HJ Granger; but who…

“Having a name only increases the fear of what is named”, said the famous animal activist HJ Granger; but who…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.