Tyrannosaurus Rex (T. Rex) and his life habits are mostly remaining mysterious, even though many of his fossil remains were found. For many years, paleontologists have been trying to determine how T. Rex looked like. But until a preserved specimen appears, the final answer remains unknown.
In the past decade, dozens of studies revealed that several dinosaur species had feathers. In 2012, the scientists discovered that T. Rex’s relative Yutyrannus huali also had feathers. Since there is no preserved specimen of Tyrannosaurus Rex, it is highly unlikely that scientists will ever determine for sure what color and texture his skin was. Some scientists would predict the color depending on the form of residual structures, which are considered to contain melanin – the pigment, responsible for giving darker colors to modern animals. However, others believe that these structures are merely remnants of bacterial colonies. One thing is for sure: the darker skin would significantly help T. Rex to camouflage. Mary Schweitzer, paleontologist at University of North Carolina, believes that the skin of adult T. Rex would look like chicken legs. If they had feathers, they have lost the majority of it with age because it was harder for them to lose heat due to their size, Schweitzer also thinks.
The other unknown thing about T. Rex is his offspring and the fact that there are no fossils of them. One option is that most of the offspring reached their maturity; the other option is that the scientists wrongly classified them as a much smaller related species, called Nanotyrannus lancensis. Worth mentioning is also that T. Rex’s egg has not yet been discovered. Scientists also do not know whether the T. Rex was completely warm-blooded or cold-blooded animal, but they believe that his metabolism was probably somewhere between those of crocodiles and those of birds. Last year’s study showed that cold-blooded energy would not be able to run his active life cycles, so it is very unlikely that T. Rex regulated his body temperatures by lying in the sun, as reptiles and crocodiles do today.
Another mysterious thing about Tyrannosaurus Rex’s life is how he sounded. Roaring from Jurassic Park cannot be taken seriously as scientists say that they sounded more like ostriches or crocodiles. How T. Rex mated is also unknown. In order to ascertain the logistics of how these seven-tone animals reproduced, paleontologists must first identify the gender of fossils, which are very stingy with its features. Luckily, in 2005, Schweitzer discovered a modular bone in one of the fossils. Modular bone is a type of tissue that accumulates during ovulation in female birds and develops in order to provide enough calcium for the eggshells. And finally, there is the mystery of T. Rex famous short front limbs. Research from 1990 was guessing that they assisted them in getting up, but those limbs could also lift the weight up to 180 kilograms. However, it seems more and more likely that they were simply useless.
T. Rex, king of large carnivorous dinosaurs, was not only bringing fear to other dinosaurs, but also to the animals of his kind. In fact, scientists from the U.S. and Canada found the corresponding teeth marks on the bones of T. Rex and thereby proved that the dinosaurs of this kind were in fact cannibals. Scientists made the discovery by coincidence because they have been investigating entirely another thing when they found teeth marks on T. Rex’s skeleton. According to the size and location of where the skeleton was found, the researchers immediately concluded that this is an imprint of T. Rex’s teeth. Further studies have shown that such cases were not rare, since the scientists found teeth imprints in several other tyrannosaurs skeletons. Regardless of the fact that scientists have studied the Tyrannosaurus Rex for many years, his habits and lifestyle still remains a great mystery.
By Janette Verdnik