What is the closest relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex?
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Q:

What is the closest relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex?

A:

Quick Answer

The chicken is the closest living relative of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, according to a team led by North Carolina State University paleontologist Mary Schweitzer. The scientists who came to this conclusion did so through a process of sequencing proteins from a fossilized Tyrannosaurus Rex leg bone, finding that molecules from the 68-million-year-old fossil showed great similarity to those found in chicken. This research constituted the first evidence of molecular similarity between dinosaurs and modern-day birds, a connection that had previously been conjectured based on physical similarities.

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Part of the reason why this research is so impressive is that paleontologists had long believed that any proteins or DNA that fossils may have once contained would have been destroyed over time. Schweitzer and her team were able to locate and use such genetic material for the first time in paleontological history in order to make an empirical connection between Tyrannosaurus Rex and the common chicken. Specifically, the team used collagen found in the bone to perform a molecular comparison that proved what had previously only been conjecture based on the fossil record. There is additional paleontological evidence to suggest that, rather than simply being covered in scaly skin, baby and perhaps even adult Tyrannosaurs were actually covered in feathers, much like their contemporary descendants.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How tall is a Tyrannosaurus Rex?

    A:

    A Tyrannosaurus rex stood about 15 to 20 feet tall, or 4.6 to 6 meters high. Its length was about 40 feet, or 12 meters.

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  • Q:

    Where did the tyrannosaurus rex live?

    A:

    Scientists have uncovered tyrannosaurus rex bones in the areas of western North America. Paleontologists have uncovered bones in Canada, Wyoming, Utah and Montana.

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  • Q:

    When did the Tyrannosaurus Rex live?

    A:

    Tyrannosaurus Rex lived during the late Cretaceous period; this was approximantely 67 to 66.5 million. The species lived during the final age of dinosaurs on Earth until a catastrophic extinction event eventually eradicated all dinosaur species.

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  • Q:

    Could you outrun a Tyrannosaurus Rex?

    A:

    A T-Rex could have run faster than an average human at top speed, but there is a chance that a human could outrun a T-Rex. We can never fully know how fast the Tyrannosaurus Rex ran, but scientists at the University of Manchester in England have come up with animated computer models based on fossils and estimated muscle mass that have helped them compute the probable top speeds of many dinosaurs. The Tyrannosaurus Rex is nowhere near the fastest, topping out at around 18 mph. The fastest dinosaur they computed was the Compsognathus, which ran about 40 mph.

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