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T-Rex: The Most Badass Dinosaur Ever

We asked Jurassic World's resident paleontologist Brian Switek to answer the internet's T. rex questions! Was T. rex bulletproof? What's the deal with the teeny tiny arms?! Join us on Dino Search as dinosaur expert Brian Switek sets us straight on Jurassic Park and Jurassic World’s most iconic dinosaur! Got your own questions about T. rex? Let us know in the comments!


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She could crush you in her jaws, but could she catch you first? We asked Jurassic World’s official paleontologist Brian Switek the inter net’s most popular T. rex questions.

would t rex be bulletproof
We guess after seeing T-Rex destroy everything in its path, people want to how they might defend themselves if their jeep ever breaks down in the Cretaceous. Brian has also given this one some thought.

In addition to a thin coat of dinofluff, the body of T. rex was covered in hard little scales. Other dinosaurs - like some of the spiky ankylosaurs - had thick coats of bony armor that would have provided more resistance, but T. rex didn’t have the same equivalent of a bulletproof vest.

What we do know is that T. rex was a very muscular dinosaur, from its jaws to its tail. Muscle scars on their bones show these were pretty beefy predators, so whatever weaponry you’d chose would not only have to get through a thick, scaly hide, but thick muscle, too. But was T-Rex bullet proof? Well, it’d be tough to bring it down with a handguns; a high-powered rifle would be a different story.

why did t rex have small arms
Let’s address the 9 ton dinosaur in the room . . .What’s up with this giant’s teeny tiny arms?

There’ve certainly been plenty of ideas. One of them was that T. rex used them to tickle mates in courtship. Or that they used them to hug prey close to their body . . . Awwww. But according to Brian, the real reason is all about balance.

As we see every time Jurassic Park’s T. rex chomps down, T. rex not only had a huge head, but it was packed with muscle to give it a devastating bite force able to slice muscle and crush bone. T. rex also stood on two legs, meaning its body had to maintain balance. Since T. rex was all about the mouth, then, this dinosaur was better off skipping arm day. If the tyrant lizard bulked up its guns, it’d topple over.

what made t rex so dangerous
This one seems pretty obvious, but Brian made it scary obvious:

From biomechanical studies, we know that T. rex could bite with a force of over 12,800 pounds - more than enough to shatter bone. Old teeth were continually replaced, meaning it always had a fresh set. Oh, and its neck muscles were strong enough to toss a 100-pound chunk of food about 15 feet in the air and catch it!

And that’s not all. T. rex was rare among dinosaurs in having eyes that both faced forward. This gave it binocular vision, or the ability to see in three dimensions. If it didn’t sniff you out with its impressive nose, it’d definitely see you.

Mind you, being the deadliest predator doesn’t mean that T. rex was the most dangerous dino in the park. Today, large herbivores like bison, hippos and elephants are often among the most dangerous animals in their environments. So maybe the horns or spiked tail of a dinosaur “veggiesaurus” would give it that title. We may not know until we can wander up to a triceratops and see what happens . . .

did t rex hunt in packs
A T. rex team is grade “A” nightmare fuel. Say it ain’t so!

Well, Brian reassures us that tyrannosaurs didn’t always get along. Some fossils, like a teenage T. rex named Jane, show bite marks made by other tyrannosaurs. This was a dinosaur that didn’t always play nice.

However, there are also a few terrifying clues that they sometimes grouped together.

Dinosaur tracks are moments frozen in time, or in other words, dinosaur behavior preserved as fossils. A set of tyrannosaur trackways found in Canada seems to indicate that these predatory dinosaurs might have formed social groups at least some of the time.

Was the group that left the tracks family? A hunting party? Just down for a dinosaur hangout? We’ll need to find more tracks to find out.

how to survive a t rex attack
Glad we’re not the only ones that this question keeps up at night.

Brian admits that getting away from T. rex would be a tricky task. Running away wouldn’t be wise. The average running speed for a human is about 8 miles per hour. T. rex could run at speeds of about 20 miles per hour or more.

So, if you don’t have a Jeep handy, what do you do?

It might be possible to evade T. rex by being quiet. The dinosaur’s ears were attuned to low-frequency sounds, below the range of the human speaking voice. Or you could turn the dinosaur’s skill against it, by distracting it with some powerful-smelling decoy. Maybe pepper spray? Just, whatever you do, don’t run!

We’re not sure if Brian’s answers reassured us . . . or just made us more terrified. So . . . who would win, T. rex or triceratops? How would YOU escape T. rex? Tell us what you think in the comments.

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