We think of T. rex as a huge killing machine. But every T. rex was once a vulnerable hatchling—and most never made it past age one. (AMNH)

We think of T. rex as a huge killing machine. But every T. rex was once a vulnerable hatchling—and most never made it past age one. (AMNH)

Visitors to T. rex: The Ultimate Predator will be impressed by a massive life-sized model of T. rex, complete with patches of feathers. (AMNH)

Visitors to T. rex: The Ultimate Predator will be impressed by a massive life-sized model of T. rex, complete with patches of feathers. (AMNH)

A four-year-old T. rex fully covered in feathers for warmth and camouflage weighed five times more than a four-year-old boy. (AMNH)

A four-year-old T. rex fully covered in feathers for warmth and camouflage weighed five times more than a four-year-old boy. (AMNH)

Peter Kaisen works to excavate a T. rex skull at Big Dry Creek, Montana, in 1908. (AMNH)

Peter Kaisen works to excavate a T. rex skull at Big Dry Creek, Montana, in 1908. (AMNH)

The exhibit includes other dinosaurs related to T. rex, like Proceratosaurus bradleyi. (AMNH)

The exhibit includes other dinosaurs related to T. rex, like Proceratosaurus bradleyi. (AMNH)

Kids get to touch the femur (leg bone) of a T. rex. (AMNH)

Kids get to touch the femur (leg bone) of a T. rex. (AMNH)

Artists create computer models and animations of what paleontologists think a T. rex hatchling looked like—kinda scary-cute. (AMNH)

Artists create computer models and animations of what paleontologists think a T. rex hatchling looked like—kinda scary-cute. (AMNH)

King of the Dinos

Posted: April 29, 2019

What’s as big as a school bus? Whose every tooth measures the size of a banana?

We’re describing the Tyrannosaurus rex. Right now, that dino is leaving its gigantic footprints at the American Museum of Natural History.

The new dinosaur exhibit opened this spring at the museum in New York City. And the “king of the dinos” isn’t the only creature museum-goers will get to “meet.” (Rex is Latin for “king.” Tyrannosaurus means “lizard king.”) The whole tyrannosaur family will be on display. That includes the speedy, tiny guys scientists believe came before T. rex. (Not everyone agrees that some of these little tyrannosauruses were another part of the tyrannosaurus family. Some scientists think they are just baby T. rexes!)

Scientists don’t know everything about T. rexes. How could they? No one has ever seen one alive! People have to guess what the creatures were like by studying fossils. They believe the savage creatures had sharp claws. Their teeth could bite through bone. But what about T. rex babies? Here’s a surprise. They think the killer dinos started as fluffy little hatchlings. If you saw one, you wouldn’t scream “Ahhhhh!” You would say, “Awwww!”

Scientists believe T. rexes started out the size of a turkey and then gained as much as 4.6 pounds each day. The T. rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit uses life-size models to show the dinosaur at each life stage. Visitors will check out real fossils. They’ll study casts. They’ll watch huge video projections all about T. rex. Then they’ll work together in a virtual reality project to build a T. rex skeleton themselves.

Researchers use the exhibit to show off some of their new ideas. They study some of God’s other creatures: birds and alligators. They ask, “How do these animals see, hear, and smell?” Now they think T. rexes may have some of the same powerful senses. But you wouldn’t call T. rexes sensitive. Those sharp ears, eyes, and noses are all the better to find you with . . . so T. rex can gobble you up!