Even though haters gotta hate and he's been much-maligned and increasingly-wussified in recent years, the goddamned Tyrannosaurus Rex is still pretty the most universally-recognized badass carnivorous dinosaur-eating giant reptile that ever crushed the earth beneath its giant, taloned, chicken-like feet. Sure, plenty of eccentric dino-philes have their own weirdo cult favorite extinct carnivorous lizards – maybe Spinosaur was bigger and had that funky-ass sailboat sail, and maybe Utahraptor was more cunning and had better ups, but it's still tough to argue with the hardcore badass cred of T-Rex. Any time you're talking about giant lizards that kick serious ass and demolish their puny enemies in a waterfall spray of dino blood and bone dust, the King of the Lizards has to get his props. It's kind of the Cretaceous Era version of how even if you like the Wu-Tang Clan better than N.W.A., you're still not going to go out and call Dr. Dre a pussy – because he's O.G. and you gotta respect that.
Aside from just being a gigantic, towering bipedal monstrosity equipped with an oversized fang-filled head capable of ripping an armor-plated thorax in half without a second thought, this rampaging mega eating machine was so over-the-top out-of-control hardcore that the only way the Universe could slow him down was by dropping a 10-mile-wide asteroid on Earth and detonating the entire planet in a mass extinction event that fell somewhere between thermonuclear holocaust and the Star Wars prequel trilogy on the horrific global disaster scale. Known simply by a pair of badass Latin words meaning "Tyrant Lizard King", this unfeeling mountain of muscle and teeth was one of the largest land-based carnivores the world has ever seen – not to mention a pop culture staple that has fought in life-or-death duels against everyone from Batman to King Kong and, regardless of the film, almost universally symbolizes the pure embodiment of toothy-mawed evil incarnate any time it's terrifying visage appears on the screen.
So you can imagine my surprise when I was going through a Google Image Search for badass T-Rex pics and saw this:
This sad, dopey, pathetic little crapburger of a creature is some freedom-hating artists' rendition of what some jackass rogue paleontologists have recently decided to pass off as a juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex. This fucking tragedy against nature and borderline-crime-against-humanity is absolutely nothing like the raging car-devouring megabeast that menaced Jeff Goldblum and Newman from Seinfeld in Jurassic Park, and the fact that this bullshit feathery abomination even exists in a hypothetical illustrated form kind of makes me want to amputate my own balls with a set of stainless steel barbecue tongs and declare the official death of World Badassitude. Seriously, you'd need two of these little fluffball asshats to just make a damned Double Down sandwich for a serious T-Rex, and that idiotic "hay guys wut up" look on his face makes me want to clench my fists until my eyes explode out of my head on a river of blood while sobbing uncontrollably like a little bitch.
I mean, what the fuck, people? First Pluto, then Brontosaurus, then Triceratops, and now this insanity. And scientists wonder why people don't like science anymore.
That's more like it. FUCK YEAH DINOS
While I'm wildly hyperbolizing out on the subject of the Chickensaurus Rex, I guess I'd also like to point out that the important thing to understand about the study of paleontology is that until we see a friggin' Stegosaurus running around in the wild nobody's really going to ever know shit about dinosaurs for certain. This is totally understandable, considering that we really have no frame of reference for what these giant lizard/bird creatures were actually like in real life – luckily for use there aren't any gigantic man-eating dinos running around shopping mall parking lots woofing people down like meat-flavored cupcakes, and there aren't any modern-day analogues to the aforementioned Meatacupcakeasaurus, so unless someone pulls some real life Jurassic Park shit all we really have to go on for biological analysis is a few thousand bones that fossilized into rock about 65 million years ago. Since there really isn't any way to be proven wrong, most paleontologists these days spend their time making fun of other paleontologists and their stupid traditionalist ideas, and then coming up with radical, even-stupider new ideas that piss everyone off. It's kind of like how in the late-90s classic cinematic masterpiece Twister you had the Weathermen and the Evil Weathermen and they were fighting against each other over who thought tornadoes were the most awesome things ever, only it's with 20-foot-tall carnivorous dinosaurs and not really like that at all.
This T-Rex is so awesome it barfs out Wolverines.
The King of the Tyrant Lizards was first discovered in Hell Creek, Montana, in 1902 by a Kansan named Barnum Brown, and it's been populating the blood-soaked, mass-human-carnage imaginations of 8-year-old boys ever since. T. rex (the official scientific version of it isn't capitalized or hyphenated, because science is serious business and there isn't room for capitalization or exclamation points) is believed to have lived 65 to 85 million years ago, making it super fucking old, and while there have been some Tyrannosaur variants found in Africa, Asia, and South America (and back in the 80s some Soviet dude discovered a Commie-saurus in Mongolia), for the most part these beasts were stomping their way through the forests and swamps of North America, banging gongs, getting it on, and devouring the indigenous dinosaur species of the U.S. and Canada one obscenely-sized face-chomp at a time.
From what we can tell (which, as I've mentioned, isn't that much), T-Rex stood about 15-20 feet tall and was 40 feet long from head to tail – making it roughly two stories high and the same length of one of those gigantic steel overseas shipping containers. It probably weighed around six tons, and its super-strong legs were capable of propelling it somewhere between 15 and 45 miles an hour, depending on whether it lumbered around like a roided-out Godzilla or hauled ass like a pissed-off Ostrich (only less hilarious and more terrifying). Tyrannosaurus had a super-developed sense of smell, small forward-facing eyes that presumably gave it great straight-ahead vision, and a 4-foot long jaw lined with teeth that measured from 6 to 12 inches long.
Yeah, tell me about it.
Naturally, there's some debate among paleontologists and evolutionary biologists as to whether T-Rex was a mega apex predator – the top Alpha Dog of all dinosaurs – or if it was just some weasely hyena-like scavenger that walked around eating corpses. I have no real in-depth knowledge of animal taxonomy, but looking at this horrible image above I'm going to have to lean towards MEGA FUCKING PREDATOR rather than anything else. People like to point to its puny little forearms to reinforce the scavenger theory, but let's face it, folks – even though some scientists estimate that those dinky taloned appendages could lift 450 pounds (meaning it could bench you), this fucking thing wasn't designed going to face-punch rival dinosaurs to death. This was a homocidal insane-o eating machine, and its primary function is simply to chomp its teeth down until your head pops off like a grape and all that's left was your headless bloody torso shooting arterial blood spray into the stratosphere. Even if its arms were totally useless and eventually devolved over the last couple millennia into delicious buffalo wings, there are a lot of other ultra-deadly predators out there that don't need their arms to kick the living crapballs out of you 4 realz. Gators, eagles, tigers, sharks, and other carnivorous asskicking beasts are perfectly happy to kill you with their face-parts and not screw around with the whole fisticuffs nonsense.
And honestly, why the hell would the largest carnivore on earth eat dead bodies? I mean, when you look at this thing, you don't see some scavenging vulture. You see yourself as a delicious mobile meatburger on the run from one of the world's most ferocious and badass creatures ever. It triggers an immediate fight-or-flight response, which as far as I can tell comes from an instinctual urge to escape a predator. Like I said, I'm just some dipshit with a website and not a biologist or anything, but that's just how I see it.
Judging from bite marks both on dinosaur bones as well as other Tyrannosauruses (Tyrannosaurii?), scientists estimate that the T-Rex could bite with 3,300 pounds of force – harder than any other land animal measured to date (including your mom), and more than enough force to crush right through even the thick armor of that stupid-looking Ankylosaur tank dinosaur thing. For comparison, humans bite with about 175 pounds of force, and Bengal Tigers average about 1,000. This thing chews its prey up by crushing it with the weight of an entire NFL team repeatedly until its brains squirt out its ass and all that remains is a hunk of meaty fluid roughly the same consistency as a homemade fruit smoothie. Also, according to the National Geographic link below, its 4-foot jaw was "designed for maximum bone-crunching action" which is a phrase that pumped me up so hard when I read it that I almost got a boner.
As if having a row of 12-inch serrated spikes (awesomely described by a Berkeley professor as being "like lethal bananas") driven into your body with the force of a high-speed car accident isn't enough, the T-Rex also had terrible oral hygiene, and its mouth was riddled with so much disease and bacterial contagion that one bite could send its prey into septic shock immediately (you know, if having every bone in its body simultaneously cracked in half didn't kill it). This is pretty revolting/awesome, and as a method of death distribution it gets bonus points for being humiliating and disgusting as well as painful and gore-tastic.
T-Rex kicking the shit out of some fool old-school beatdown-style.
Oh, and I also read a couple things saying that one chomp of the T-Rex's mouth was big enough to bite through 500 pounds of meat in one fell swoop. That's like the maximum amount of meat you can carry after gunning down buffalo in the Oregon Trail.
If I'm just super old and you've never played/heard of the Oregon Trail, here's a visual depiction of what 500 pounds of meat looks like:
Mullet not shown to scale.
Hell yeah. Just remember never to invite a T-Rex to a barbecue.
And now, as I tend to do when things are so unspeakably awesome I can't put them into printed text, here's a series of photos that illustrate badassitude that could never be replicated with words. BEHOLD THE POWER OF TYRANNOSAURUS REX!
MOAR LIKE VELOCI-CRAPTOR LOL
Of course this display is in Spain.
Are my brother and me the only people who remember this show?
University of Berkeley
Awesome T-Rex Page
Currie, Philip J. Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs. Academic Press, 1997.
Holtz, Thomas R. Dinosarus. Random House, 2007.