NEW YORK – The fearful T Rex, undoubtedly the boss of the dinosaur family, was resuscitated on Tuesday at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, which, to kick off the celebrations for its 150th anniversary, presented a wide-ranging, interactive exhibition revealing new discoveries about the prehistoric predator.
These discoveries include, for example, the fact that this reptile had feathers, and that its arms were even smaller than thought up to now, and that it was extremely sharp-sighted and had senses of smell and hearing so highly developed that it was next to impossible for its prey to pass unnoticed.
“Dinosaurs, and Tyrannosaurus rex in particular, are such an important and iconic part of the Museum and have been throughout our history,” president Ellen Futter said. “It seems fitting to launch 150th anniversary celebrations with a major new exhibition on the ever-intriguing King of Dinosaurs.”
This exhibition, which opens it doors to the general public on March 11, signifies “a fresh new look at the king of kings,” co-curator Gregory Erickson, a paleobiologist at Florida State University, told EFE.
He said the museum has been working on T Rex since 1902, when the first one was found, so this is the culmination of all that work.
The feathers, the most striking physical characteristic presented this Tuesday, served T Rex both as camouflage and as an overcoat, and though scientists have never found examples of plumage on the skeletons that have been found, they have confirmed its existence through its close relations.
“In the last 30 years, we’ve seen a huge increase in both the number of tyrannosaur fossil discoveries as well as the availability of technology that lets us explore complex questions about these charismatic animals,” the other curator, museum chief paleontologist Mark Norell said.
“I never would have imagined that one day we’d be able to look at the shape of T Rex’s brain, analyze the tiny daily growth lines on their massive teeth to determine how quickly they put on weight, or use advanced biomechanical modeling to figure out the force of its bite,” he said.
The exhibit has a life-sized skeleton, representations of T Rex in the first days of it life, fossils and casts of its claws and fangs, interactive pieces, the museum’s first experience of virtual reality, and the “most precise scientific representation” of the reptile that exists to date.
“T Rex: The Ultimate Predator” also confirms the murderous power of the fearful dinosaur, said to have bone-crushing jaws with a biting force of more than 4 tons, the same as the combined weight of three medium-sized cars.
Its arms, meanwhile, were so small they were useless for all practical purposes, and it depended on its sharp fangs to feed itself and survive, so that, unlike humans, T Rex was able to constantly regenerate its teeth, even as an adult.
However, many mysteries still wait for scientists to solve, such as what color its feathers were and how the roar of T Rex sounded, so often heard in Hollywood science-fiction movies but about which no real clue exists.