Tyrannosaurus Rex May Have Been Meaner, Bigger

10/14/2011 07:12 PM ET

The Tyrannosaurus rex may have been bigger and meaner, according to scientists who study the fossils. Using three-dimensional laser scans and computer modeling, British and U.S. scientists “weighed” five specimens. One of the five included the Chicago Field Museum’s “Sue,” the largest and most complete dinosaur skeleton in the world.

.”We estimate they grew as fast as 3,950 pounds per year during the teenage period of growth, which is more than twice the previous estimate,” study researcher John Hutchinson of The Royal Veterinary College, London, said in a statement.

They say the t-rex would have inhabited the North American plains about 67 million years ago. And the fossil remains of Sue proved that she would have weighed 9 tons, which is 30 percent more than expected.

At their fastest, in their teenage years, they were putting on 11 pounds or 5 kilograms a day,” Hutchinson said in a statement. “Just think how much meat that is. That’s a hell of a lot of cheeseburgers … it’s a whole lot of duck-billed dinosaurs they needed to be chowing down on.”

“Previous methods for calculating mass relied on scale models, which can magnify even minor errors, or on extrapolations from living animals with very different body plans from dinosaurs,” said study researcher Peter Makovicky of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. “We overcame such problems by using the actual skeletons as a starting point for our study.”

The Tyrannosaurus was one of the largest land carnivores of all time. Sue measured 42 ft long and was 13.1 ft tall at the hips. Montana State University recently revealed that it possessed a dinosaur fossil skull yet discovered, measuring 59 inches long, compared to the 55.4 inches of “Sue’s” skull.

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