Canadian discovery is biggest ever T. rex

Artists impression of T-rex in the wild with prehistoric Horsetail carboniferous trees in the background

The enormous predator lived about 66 million years ago, and despite having made it to a relatively old age, dying in its early 30s, researchers estimated it suffered some bumps and bruises along the way.

The titanic fossil was originally uncovered in Saskatchewan in Canada, in 1991, and nicknamed Scotty. It took more than 10 years to extract Scotty's bones from the sandstone in which they were encased, and then several more to piece them together like a huge, complex jigsaw puzzle.

Scotty's find tells the scientific community that the T. rex could have lived longer and been heavier than what was paleontologists previously surmised.

"This is the rex of rexes", study lead author Persons observes in a statement. "There is considerable size variability among Tyrannosaurus. Among the known species, T. rex is one of the best represented extinct dinosaurs, with more than 20 fossil individuals identified", according to National Geographic.

The research team described Scotty as "exceptionally large" and "robust", which basically means he was an absolute unit.

To gauge Scotty's size, Persons and his colleagues measured its leg, hip and shoulder bones.

Scott Persons, lead paleontologist that discovered Scotty, poses with the dinosaur's skeleton.

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Compared to 11 similarly well-preservedT. rex skeletons, Scotty appears to have the advantage in terms of pure mass, if not height and overall length.

The record-breaking T-Rex was likely 42 feet long and may have weighed almost 10 tons.

Still, it's worth pointing out that "biggest dinosaur" is a fairly imprecise measure.

A T. rex specimen found in Canada is helping researchers nail down that last point. The ferocious lizards were always getting into scraps, Scotty's bones had the marks of a fair few fights and big injuries. Instead, Hutchinson says, the difference is at best five percent, "and that is with a wide margin of error".

Regardless of Scotty's exact place in theT. rex lineage, it remains impressive for its longevity and seemingly battle-worn lifestyle. Now, one specimen discovered nearly 30 years ago is revealing that the animals grew even larger than fossils have led some to believe. Damage evident on Scotty's tail vertebrae also indicates it was bitten by a fellow T. rex.

The lack of other similarly sized T. rex fossils suggests most other dinosaurs did not live long enough to reach their full growth potential. "It would not surprise me that those animals turn out to increase the range of body size, potentially to overlap or even surpass what we know from T-Rex".

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