Carnegie Tyrannosaurus pt 2: a second adult rex

In yesterday’s post I was deliberately using photos that showed off the holotype Tyrannosaurus alone. However, the exhibit has a second, adult rex, mounted with the first. The two are challenging each other over the dead hadrosaur in a wonderfully dramatic and evocative pose. This great, not just because it’s so evocative – two huge carnivores facing off, but simply because there are tow of them. I suspect the average museum patron tends to think of a given skeleton as the species almost, so having a pair, with some (admittedly subtle) differences, shows that there are multiple specimens, with all the differences that come in a  natural population. Of course it also allows them to have different poses, suggesting ranges of motion and capabilities. All probably lost on most, but the kind of thing that can make people think, or will be remember another time, and simply great to see if nothing else. After all, this is a major expenditure to put up a second large mount for a species that is already represented (and that’s the type!). Great stuff.

9 Responses to “Carnegie Tyrannosaurus pt 2: a second adult rex”

  1. 1 Marc Vincent 15/11/2011 at 1:57 pm

    Great stuff indeed! Thanks for sharing these.

  2. 2 Matt 16/11/2011 at 4:20 am

    Yes, this is really interesting. Is it possible you could describe some of the differences between the two skeletons and why those differences occur?

    • 3 David Hone 16/11/2011 at 1:20 pm

      Well I didn’t take any notes, so I can’t tell you anyhting off the top of my head. As for why, (aside from anything as the result of damage or incomplete preservation) it’s simply natural variation – I’m sure if you compare yourself to your family you’re not all the same height, or have quite the same nose shape, or lengths of fingers etc. and that’s true of any natural population and some of this will be reflected in the skeletons.

      • 4 Matt 16/11/2011 at 2:14 pm

        Sure, I was just wondering if the difference they had managed to identify might be more than that and possibly be evolutionary changes and/or adaptations to their local environments.

        I imagine that would be very hard to ascertain but the age and location of the fossils would help point towards certain changes.

      • 5 David Hone 16/11/2011 at 2:28 pm

        Ah right I see, sorry. Not that I know of. There have been a couple of papers on intraspecific variability in tyrannosaurs and the differences tend to be really quite minor – subtle variations of jaw shape or degree of rugosities on bones etc. Nothing like different number of teeth, or tooth shape or limb lengths that might mark up something ecological etc.

  3. 6 Zhen 16/11/2011 at 5:04 pm

    Was Peck’s T.rex noticeably bigger than the holotype? I’ve seen various mixed number on MOR 980 and was wondering if it was noticeably bigger from just looking at it.

    • 7 Sophie 27/02/2015 at 11:13 pm

      This is an awfully old comment, but I volunteer at Carnegie and see this exhibit pretty much every day. Peck’s Rex is an absolute monster compared to the holotype. It might be partially because of the pose, but Peck’s Rex literally towers over the other and has a far more robust skull. They contrast with Jane, who is very much the lanky awkward teenager.

  4. 8 jonaiken 10/03/2012 at 1:44 am

    So totally awesome! Again, great shots!

  1. 1 Theropod Thursday 1: | dinosaurpalaeo Trackback on 17/11/2011 at 6:05 pm
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