T-Rex Lives On

T-Rex Lives On

LiveAuctionTalk.com:  by Rosemary McKittrick

Photo courtesy of Bonhams.

Just the thought of a pack of hungry, flesh-eating dinosaurs storming down the driveway headed for the house is enough to cause some people heart palpitations.  The thing is dinosaurs have been extinct for some 65-70 million years now.  But thanks to the movie industry, the fascination with these monsters from the past is as alive today as ever.

Probably, the most ferocious dinosaur for many is the T-Rex.

Recent findings reveal T-Rex also lived as a family or in larger groups.  So, it was probably a herd of dinosaurs storming down the driveway, not a single, rogue T-Rex.

The meat-eating T-Rex of North America weighed in at about 5 tons and could run at an estimated speed of 10-30-plus miles an hour.  His head alone was 4 ½ feet long.  His 50, eight inch long teeth were serrated and razor-sharp.  Talk about staring death in the face. 

Recent findings reveal T-Rex also lived as a family or in larger groups.  So, it was probably a herd of dinosaurs storming down the driveway, not a single, rogue T-Rex.

When the largest, most preserved and complete skeleton ever found was unearthed in May of 2000, people took notice.  “Sue” nicknamed after her founder Sue Hendrickson, is 67-million-years-old and is now housed in the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History.  Purchased for $8.36 million at auction—Sue was called a bargain.

For Hendrickson, a self-taught fossil hunter, Sue was the find of a lifetime. She’s 42 feet long, with 200 bones preserved, including the longest T-Rex tooth ever found--a foot long.

No one knows for sure if Sue is actually female or not, but it’s a moot point.  Sue was found on public lands (that’s been debated), a private ranch held in trust located on the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian reservation near Faith, South Dakota.

It seems Hendrickson was part of a summer, field team from the Black Hills Institute searching for fossils in the area.  On the day the team was getting ready to leave at the end of the summer, they realized they had a flat tire.  While most of the crew headed into town to fix the tire, Hendrickson started poking around nearby, unexplored cliffs. 

As she walked along the base, she noticed small pieces of bone. Then she looked up and saw bigger bones sticking out from the wall of the cliff.  It was Sue.  The team knew it was a T-Rex by its distinctive contour and texture.

The dinosaur was 80 per cent complete.  A rare find.  Scientists believe the dinosaur was probably covered by water and mud soon after her demise which kept other animals from carrying away the bones.  The rushing water also helped keep the skeleton together.  They figured the dinosaur was about 28-years-old.

T-Rex is one of the most famous non-human animals on the planet.  It’s a mixture of size, perceived ferociousness and just plain mystery that intrigues people, plus T-Rex was one of the last dinosaurs to disappear.  For collectors, the T-Rex is among the most prestigious of fossil finds.

On May 27, Bonhams, featured a selection of fossils, including T-Rex teeth and vertebrae in its Natural History auction.  

Fossils 

Teeth; 3; T-Rex; Cretaceous; found in the Lance Creek Formation in Wyoming; 2 ½ inches to 1 ¾ inches;  $1,952. 

Turtle Shell; Cretaceous; complete; found in the Lance Creek Formation, Wyoming; 19 ½ inches by 15 inches;  $3,660.

Tooth; T-Rex; Cretaceous; found in the Lance Creek Formation, 6 inches by 3 inches; $4,270.

Vertebra; T-Rex; Cretaceous; found in Hell Creek Formation; Montana; 19 inches by 15 inches;  $4,270. 

Sea Lily; Jurassic Age; found in the area known as Germany; encased in the black shales of Holzmaden; 51 inches by 29 inches;  $15,860.   

Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller.  For 26 years she has brought the world of collecting to life in her column.  Her LiveAuctionTalk.com website is a mother lode of information about art, antiques and collectibles.  Rosemary received her education in the trenches working as a professional appraiser.

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