Of all the dinosaurs in all the world, SUE the T. rex might be the most famous. The most complete T. rex skeleton ever found, SUE is likely also the most well-traveled. Her bones, or at least casts of them, have been displayed all over the world. The casts I saw in Nova Scotia came with bilingual displays written in English and Arabic!
But there’s a new king of the dinosaurs in town, and his name is Scotty.
Named after a bottle of Scotch the scientists toasted his 1991 discovery with, Scotty is only 65% complete, compared to SUE’s 90%. But he stands out for another reason – as far as we currently know, he’s the biggest carnivore ever to walk the earth.
As any forensic anthropologist will tell you, there’s a certain amount of instinct and guess-work involved in reconstructing height and weight from nothing but bones. But measurements of Scotty’s femur (the long, heavy bone from his thigh) suggest he was in the ballpark of 19,500 pounds – almost a ton more than SUE.
He was also a senior citizen – at approximately 28 years old, Scotty lived longer than any other T. rex we currently know about. And he was a tough old dude, surviving a broken rib, fractured tail bones, and an infected jaw. Those injuries showed signs of healing, meaning they likely weren’t his ultimate cause of death.
Now that Canadian palaeontologists have had a chance to study him, Scotty will be making his public debut at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum this May. No word yet on whether he’ll be joining his cousin SUE on tour!