'tyrant lizard'

7000kg, 12.0m-long large theropod

Diet: carnivorous

Country: Canada, USA

Period: Late Cretaceous, 67-65 million years ago

Teeth: 60 saw-edged, bone-crushing, pointed teeth

How it moved: on 2 legs

Food: other animals

The ultimate carnivore

Tyrannosaurus lives up to its reputation as one of the most fearsome animals of all time. Its powerful jaw had 60 teeth, each one up to 20cm (8 inches) long and its bite was around 3 times as powerful than that of a lion.

Bite marks found on Triceratops and Edmontosaurus fossil bones show that Tyrannosaurus could crunch through bone. Analysis of fossilised Tyrannosaurus dung show that it contained the bones of its prey.

Hunter or scavenger?

The Tyrannosaurus skull was over 1.5m (5 feet) long and the cavity that housed the part of the brain responsible for smell was relatively large.

Tyrannosaurus would have used its good sense of smell to hunt live prey and locate dead bodies to scavenge. It would have been able to scare off any other scavengers, so it didn't have to share.

Lone or pack hunter?

Many Tyrannosaurus fossils show bite marks from other tyrannosaurs, so it's clear that they fought each other, whether over food or mates.

We know that close relatives of Tyrannosaurus sometimes lived together because there are fossils of groups who were buried together, but we don't know for sure if they hunted alone, or in packs like lions and wolves do today. So far, no groups of Tyrannosaurus skeletons have been found.

Taxonomic details

Taxonomy: Dinosauria, Saurischia, Theropoda, Neotherapoda, Tetanurae, Avetherapoda, Coelurosauria, Tyrannoraptora, Tyrannosauroidea, Tyrannosauridae, Tyrannosaurinae

Named by: Osborn (1905)

Type species: rex


Dinosaur gifts

Check out the range of dinosaur toys, games, books and clothes in the Museum shop.


Dippy on Tour

Find out the many ways you can join Dippy the Museum's famous Diplodocus cast on his natural history adventure.


Dippy the Diplodocus 3D skull

Rotate, zoom in and explore the features of this popular dinosaur.