Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Earth Science

T-Rex Bigger and Hungrier Than Previously Thought 104

gpronger writes "Researchers John Hutchinson (Royal Veterinary College in London) and Peter Makovicky (Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago) built digital models of a T-Rex and then added flesh using the structure of soft tissues in birds and crocodiles as a guide. This allowed them to project body mass. By doing this for a number of specimens of different age and size, they could also evaluate growth. At maximum, the adolescents could add 11 pounds in weight in a single day. The adult was found to be 30% heavier than earlier estimates, at more than 9 tons. With this size and appetite, they would need a large range, and therefore also be relatively rare in the ecosystem of the time."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

T-Rex Bigger and Hungrier Than Previously Thought

Comments Filter:
  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @12:36AM (#37698312)

    It's big-boned

  • by Anonymous Coward

    9 tons at the heavier, revised estimate? Elephants can weigh close to 7 tons. Thanks for ruining my childhood

    • Re:Disappointing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Colin Douglas Howell ( 670559 ) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @04:23AM (#37699066)

      Actually, some very big bull elephants have reached up to around 12 tons. But that's a minor point, because you're comparing apples and oranges.

      "Only" 9 tons...for a flesh-eating biped. Think about that for a bit. No other land-dwelling meat-eater has ever come close to the size of the largest predatory dinosaurs. And all those dinosaurs were bipeds.

      Elephants are herbivores, and they are strictly quadrupeds with columnar legs. The dinosaur analog for elephants are the sauropods, the largest of which reached up to 10 times the weight of the biggest elephants.

      • Just to compare to modern carnivores, I think the biggest is the kodiak bear, and it's about ONE ton.

        • Just to compare to modern carnivores, I think the biggest is the kodiak bear, and it's about ONE ton.

          Actually kodiak bears are tied with the polar bear and both are estimated to have a max. peak weight of 1500 lbs. for males. Still, it's pretty damn small compared to 9 tons.

        • Kodiak bears (and Polar bears) are the largest modern land carnivores (whales are a lot bigger).
    • by foote ( 441858 )

      9 tons at the heavier, revised estimate? Elephants can weigh close to 7 tons. Thanks for ruining my childhood

      I felt that way also when I read about T-Rex size estimates some years ago. Then they were six or seven tons (i.e., elephant-sized). But I had to remember that they were not, of course, the elephants of their time. They were the tigers of their time. So, you scale a tiger up to elephant size and you've got a pretty impressive predator.

  • by bragr ( 1612015 ) * on Thursday October 13, 2011 @12:45AM (#37698348)
    I understand the they used birds because of the evolutionary history, and crocs due to the age of their species and reptilian nature, but I doubt using the human body as a reference to the bodies of our millions of years old relatives would give a clear picture, and the same goes for this experiment. And it could be the case that the birds they used didn't evolve from t-rex, but rather some other (possibly completely unrelated) species of bird, which would skew the results. If I had to guess, I'd say that 30% is in the margin of error for this kind of work.
    • by bragr ( 1612015 ) *
      *And it could be the case that the birds they used didn't evolve from t-rex, but rather some other (possibly completely unrelated) species of dinosaur, which would skew the results Note to self: don't post when tired.
    • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @02:07AM (#37698602)

      The summary is inaccurate, as always. The actual abstract openly states that there is some subjectivity, and gives a range of 6000-8000 kg, with only one particularly large specimin topping 9 tons.

      • Precisely. The whole paper seems to be about the uncertainty of such estimates, i.e. the science. And the researchers have done a lot more work on this before; they aren't new to the field and wet around the ears.
    • And it could be the case that the birds they used didn't evolve from t-rex, but rather some other (possibly completely unrelated) species of bird, which would skew the results.

      The common ancestor of birds is not T-Rex, so yeah. The most likely ancestor is one of the raptor family of dinosaurs -- aside from having a generally a more bird-like skeleton, a main key is in the structure of their wrists which can be seen evolving increasing degrees of flexibility in the raptor line to be more and more like the structure of a modern bird's wrists.

      That said, a modern bird is still going to be the closest living relative to T-Rex. They're probably closer to T-Rex than crocodiles are.


  • At best its a guess, at worse its a chunk of non fictional art. Take with your grain of salt

  • by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @12:52AM (#37698380) Homepage Journal
    Well, this new evidence certainly makes this scene [] a lot less hot....
    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      You owe me a new keyboard....

      • and a clean LCD screen. Perspective, an amazing thing.

        • What do you mean perspective? That's literally an exhibition of two t-rex skeletons in a reconstructed mating position. It's quite intentional.

          • And I could see it as just two T-rex, waiting around for prey. Since I did not know the context, I chose correctly without knowing. Wonder what that says about the direction my mind is going these days.

            As a side note, the museum actually did that and stated it is two t-rex mating? could make for some inteesting floor conversations...
            Child: Daddy, what are the dinosaurs doing?
            Uncomfortable Dad: Why Billy, they are just hanging around waiting for prey
            Child: That's funny, cause it looks like the same posi

            • Child: That's funny, cause it looks like the same position you and Mommy make sometimes when I hear strange sounds.

              I must be doing it wrong. T-Rex-style and BJs coincidentally ended shortly before the birth of my kid. :-/ I sure wish I had to make up a crazy story of what mommy and daddy were doing...

  • While T-Rex is a theropod, it isn't a Velociraptor, so, the only real question is has ANYONE notified Randall Munroe?
  • Good thing George Lucas didn't make Jurassic Park, or he'd be re-releasing the movie every time we found out something new about a dinosaur.

    • by djl4570 ( 801529 )
      Imagine what would happen if they found one that looked like Jar-Jar Binks.
    • can you imagine trying to train a t-rex to use a lightsaber?
    • by bytesex ( 112972 )

      Yeah, especially since it turned out that the infamous, super-dangerous, maliciously intelligent Velociraptor turned out to have the size of a turkey. In order to open doors, they'd have to jump. And they were so scary to humans, you could use them as footballs.

      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        Why do you assume small thing aren't scary. I mean, a fast animal the size of a turkey can still kill you, especially if it's working with a pack.

    • I don't care what the remake said. Rex shot first!

    • In related news: when asked about the company's upcoming plans, an InGen spokesman responded simply by saying: "we're gonna need a bigger boat."

      • When I first saw this, I thought you said "we're gonna need a bigger goat." Which at the time also made total sense!

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @01:43AM (#37698528) Journal
    It's about time the poor T-Rex started getting some more respect. When I was a kid, it was the biggest, baddest carnivore out there. Then it got demoted from a vicious hunter to a carrion eater, sniffing out dead carcasses like a vulture. Then they started putting feathers on it. Oh! The humiliation!. Glad to see they are upping it's need to feed.

    Still, I guess it's fared better than the Brontosaurus. Not only did they go extinct, but they apparently never existed at all. A skeleton of a smaller animal, called Apatosaurus was discovered before the larger Brontosuarus was. However, on closer examination, it was discovered that the Apatosaurus was simply a juvenile and the Brontosaurus was the full grown adult version of the same animal. Since the Apatosaurus was found first, that became the official name. Poor Brontosaurus.
    • I get where you are coming from. One of my favorite posters when I was about 8 or so (1981) was a wall poster that had all of the more famous dinosaurs on it. (I think I still have it in storage somewhere) And as time went on that poster become increasingly incorrect, especially in naming, but also in the number of species. I also liked the Bronto, he was like the big dude on the block that just chilled all day hangin' out, eating some leaves, not bothering anyone.

      Science, ruining my childhood posters,

  • This clearly shows God's divine hand in the creation of the dinosaurs, as us simple humans can't even get it right. It proves unequivocally that scientists don't even know what the hell they are doing. If we can't even trust their mangling of God's creations of Crocodile, Bird and Dinosaur, how can we even trust their so-called "Carbon Dating" witchcraft? Obviously scientists' inherent atheist devil-worship is to blame for letting them act as tools of Satan. Serpents were said to exist, in fact they are par

    • by EdIII ( 1114411 )

      You forgot to mention that God gave us the Flintstones and only the blind fools and tools of Satan don't see it for what it is.... a documentary.

    • by cosm ( 1072588 )
      Yes....go were saying? []

    • Instant classic.

    • by g4b ( 956118 )

      gosh, you had me going, almost started a christian flamewar against a religious nut. but its just an antireligious nut with humor.

      wtf is with bacteria

    • Its a glorious day for Slashdot when an obvious offtopic troll flamebait post filled with logical fallacies (primarily the strawman, and ridicule) gets modded "funny". Humorous intent there may have been, but it really brings some perspective-- apparently you can be as gigantic of a troll as you want, so long as you make your ridicule funny enough.

      For everyone chortling over how stupid and backwards the religious nuts are, note that you are giving approval to a gigantic logical fallacy and applauding the d

  • the adolescents could add 11 pounds in weight in a single day

    So does my wife.

    • "At their fastest, in their teenage years, they were putting on 11 pounds or 5 kilograms a day," John Hutchinson of the Royal Veterinary College in London told Reuters.

      "Just think how much meat that is. That's a hell of a lot of cheeseburgers ... it's a whole lot of duck-billed dinosaurs they needed to be chowing down on."

      Hadrosaurs or duck-billed dinosaurs were common plant-eaters that lived alongside T. rex, making them an obvious meal for the giant meat-eaters.

      if you are anything like a duck-billed dinosaur, you should watch out.

  • the adolescents could add 11 pounds in weight in a single day. The adult was found to be 30% heavier than earlier estimates at more than 9 tons.

    isn't anyone concerned about this dinosaur obesity epidemic?!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Apex predators seem to be rarer birds than the more common 'less noble' creatures. That is, there are a lot few eagles than sparrows. However, the smaller less noble creatures have a better chance of survival once things go bad.

    On a more serious note; this is why the world needs global warming. If we are to bring back T-rexs, and velocorapters, we need to get this planet about 20 degrees warmer. Then we can start resurrecting all these noble species that once ranged the Earth.

    -If I disagree with you, It

  • Why would something get SO big just to test our faith? ***Starting time machine....Fastening seatbelt....OK, now off to 4000BC to figure this all out!
  • Good thing dinosaurs never discovered the properties of pot... now THAT would be a big hunger.

    (or maybe they did... and went extinct)

  • The idea that T-Rex wasn't a carnivore, but a carrion eater. Too big, too fat, pathetic arms that wouldn't allow it to get back up quickly in a hunt(if ever) and probably slow as a sloth.
  • A museum guard reaches for his pistol, but the dinosaur is upon him and he is messily devoured. Patrons of the arts flee for their lives. Priceless paintings are ripped to shreds, wealthy benefactors trampled, and the museum is in ruins.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner