Meet the 12 metre-long, spectacular life-sized skeleton cast of a T.rex, one of the star attractions at the National Museum of Scotland.

T.rex fact file

Age: T.rex lived for 16-18 years and walked the earth 65 million years ago.
Skeleton discovered: Hell Creek Eastern Montana, by researcher Kathy Wankel in 1990.
Size and weight: 12 metres long, 6 metres high and would have weighed 3,000 kilos when alive.
Male or female: Unknown as difficult to determine sex of dinousaurs from skeletons.
Did you know? MOR.555 is the second largest and most complete T.rex skeleton ever found.

T.rex at National Museum of Scotland

It is 65 million years since T.rex actually walked the earth, but the Museum’s new acquisition will bring people as close as possible to appreciating the scale and power of the real thing. The cast has been taken from one of the most complete T.rex specimens in the world, which is held in the Museum of the Rockies.

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Above: Part of the T.rex cast skeleton being installed at National Museum of Scotland.

T.rex forms the centrepiece of the Animal World, a spectacular array of creatures from the past and the present day, including a great white shark, a hippo and a Triceratops skull, among many others. Peering out into the Museum’s Grand Gallery, it draws people through into our six Natural World galleries, which tell the story of the formation of the earth and evolution of life on our planet.

Where was the skeleton found?

Our T.rex is a cast of a specimen that was found in 1988 by researcher Kathy Wankel at Hall Creek, Montana. The specimen was excavated by a team from the Museum of the Rockies, led by palaeontologist Jack Horner, and given the number MOR 555. The skeleton is 85% complete, including the skull and the first complete T.rex forelimb.

Excavation

Above: Excavation of the skeleton in 1990 © Museum of the Rockies

The T.rex is now on display at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. Find out more about the discovery of the T.rex in paleontologist Jack Horner's blog post When T.rex rocked in Montana!

What was T.rex like and how did it live?

T.rex was one of the largest carnivorous dinosaurs that ever lived. Fossil evidence shows that it was about 12 metres long with a six metre tail. It had strong thighs, and together with its long powerful tail – which gave it balance – this helped it moved quickly. Its massive 1.5 metre long skull provided it with a powerful crushing bite.

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Above: T.rex in the Animal World gallery.

T.rex's serrated conical teeth allowed it to pierce and grip flesh, and its strong neck muscles were then used to rip the flesh from the carcass of its prey. Its two-fingered forelimbs could possibly manipulate prey, but were far too short to reach its mouth.

It is believed that this powerful predator could eat up to 230 kg of meat in one bite. Fossils of T.rex suggest that it crushed and broke bones as it ate and broken bones have been found in its dung. It lived in forested river valleys in North America during the late Cretaceous period and became extinct about 65 million years ago.