Tyrannosaurus Rex Tooth - 4.65"
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Measuring 40ft (12m) in length and weighing upwards of 14 tons, Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the largest and most powerful terrestrial predators in history. The most advanced in an 80 million year chain of tyrannosaurid evolution, T. rex had heavy, deep skulls reinforced with sutures, lightened by hollow chambers... and of course very large and powerful teeth.
Including the root, T. rex teeth can reach up to 12" in length. The visible portion or crown for adults typically measures between 4" and 6" (though this varies by specific tooth location and type).
This specimen is an adult T. rex tooth crown from an upper jaw bone (maxillary). It measures 4.65" (11.8cm) at the maximum. It was recovered on private land in South Dakota (Hell Creek Formation).
Above: Tooth in Hand, not sure who has who in this picture to be honest. This is a huge tooth!
The tooth was discovered in isolation so pegging it to a specific position is difficult. However, based on standard measurements for morphometric analysis and comparing to average data gathered across multiple intact specimens, we believe this tooth was originally in position mx5 or mx6 as highlighted below.
Above: Image from "A high-resolution growth series of Tyrannosaurus rex obtained from multiple lines of evidence". Teeth mx5 and mx6 are highlighted in red.
Note: All identification is based on standard measurements for theropod tooth analysis include crown base mesial-distal length (CBL); crown base labio-lingual width (CBW); crown height from apex to distal enamel base (CH); apical length from medial enamel base (AL), as well as curvature profiles. Data is compared to median values for T. rex teeth per Smith (2005).
Reference: Smith, Joshua B. "Heterodonty in Tyrannosaurus rex: implications for the taxonomic and systematic utility of theropod dentitions." Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 25.4 (2005): 865-887. [PDF]
The T. rex tooth made its first appearance in the First Edition of the Mini Museum. It is also part of the Age of Dinosaurs Collection.
More About Tyrannosaurus rex
Above: How do you like your T. rex? With scales or fluffy like a baby chick? The science is still unsettled about adults as depicted here but juveniles definitely had feathers.
"We need to start thinking of dinosaurs as not just brutes and not just monsters, and not just things with sharp teeth and sharp claws, but as really active, intelligent, energetic animals that oftentimes had keen senses. An animal like T. rex was a predator that used brain and brawn: its big brain, its great sense of smell and its really keen sense of hearing were probably as important to it, if not more so, than its sharp claws and its sharp teeth and its big jaw muscles."
~ Steve Brusatte, Paleontologist, University of Edinburgh, author of "The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World" (2018)
Various mechanical studies of T. rex power place the "Tyrant Lizard King" firmly at the top of the charts. Paired with this incredible power, T. rex also had some of the largest teeth of any carnivorous dinosaur, with the largest measuring 1ft (30 cm).
Despite popular depictions of poor depth perception, studies show that when compared to other giant theropods, tyrannosaurids had a wide postorbital skull which resulted in forward-facing eyes and acute binocular vision. The spine of a Tyrannosaurus Rex was subject to tremendous force. The size and strength of the vertebrae were essential to providing support for this enormous predator, but the entire apparatus also had to allow for rapid changes in movement and critical striking speed.
Studies suggest the great tyrannosaurids achieved their huge size through accelerated growth spurts. At the peak of its growth spurt, a young T. rex may have put on the better part of a ton annually.
Bite marks from conspecifics have been found on the skulls of large tyrannosaurids, suggesting they may have bitten each other in dominance or reproductive interactions. It’s possible some species were gregarious, perhaps even pack-hunters; the first known tyrannosaurid trackway, from a Late Cretaceous formation in British Columbia, hints at three animals traveling together.
Among the other dinosaurs bearing tyrannosaurid bite marks are ceratopsids, hadrosaurs, and other tyrannosaurs (reflecting the sort of opportunistic cannibalism also widespread among predators). Sauropods such as Alamosaurus, which overlapped with T. rex in North America, and Opisthocoelicaudia, which shared Asian landscapes with Tarbosaurus, may also have been tyrannosaurid quarry.