Paleontologists have reported that a Tyrannosaurus rex unearthed in Canada – nicknamed “Scotty” – is the world’s largest so far, at 43 feet (13 meters) long.
Scotty, nicknamed for a celebratory bottle of scotch the night it was discovered, has leg bones suggesting a living weight of more than 19,400 pounds (8,800 kg), making it bigger than any carnivorous dinosaur yet discovered.
Tyrannosaurus rex (rex meaning king in Latin), or T. rex, lived throughout what’s now western North America. Scotty, the researchers say, lived in prehistoric Saskatchewan, Canada, 66 million years ago. University of Alberta researcher Scott Persons is the lead author of the study, published March 21, 2019, in The Anatomical Record. Persons said in a statement:
This is the rex of rexes. There is considerable size variability among Tyrannosaurus. Some individuals were lankier than others and some were more robust. Scotty exemplifies the robust. Take careful measurements of its legs, hips, and even shoulder, and Scotty comes out a bit heftier than other T. rex specimens.
The skeleton was first discovered in 1991. But the hard sandstone that encased the bones took more than a decade to remove. Scientists have only recently been able to study the skeleton fully-assembled and realize how unique a dinosaur Scotty is.
It is not just Scotty’s size and weight that set it apart. Persons said:
Scotty is the oldest T. rex known. By which I mean, it would have had the most candles on its last birthday cake. You can get an idea of how old a dinosaur is by cutting into its bones and studying its growth patterns. Scotty is all old growth.
Scotty is estimated to have been in its early 30s when it died. Persons said:
By Tyrannosaurus standards, it had an unusually long life. And it was a violent one. Riddled across the skeleton are pathologies – spots where scarred bone records large injuries.
Among Scotty’s injures are broken ribs, an infected jaw, and what may be a bite from another T. rex on its tail – battle scars from a long life. Persons said:
I think there will always be bigger discoveries to be made. But as of right now, this particular Tyrannosaurus is the largest terrestrial predator known to science.
Bottom line: A Tyrannosaurus rex nicknamed Scotty – discovered in Canada – is the largest T. rex yet discovered.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.