Finally, some good news for the T. Rex

Show some respect.
Show some respect.
Image: AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan
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The Tyrannosaurus rex has lost some of its mojo lately, as scientists conclude these dinosaurs were more likely squawking than roaring, and were covered in ruffled feathery plumage.

But the T. rex does have one thing going for it—size. The science suggests these beasts were probably a lot bigger than we thought.

Researchers last week announced the discovery of the remains of what is believed to be the heaviest T. rex on record. Its fossils were found in Saskatchewan, Canada, and the paleontologists who uncovered it have nicknamed it “Scotty.” The creature is estimated to have weighed about 19,500 lbs (8,845 kgs), which is a good deal heavier than the average African bush elephant. The discovery was unveiled in the journal The Anatomical Record.

Through their discovery, and close inspection of Scotty’s super-strong, 8-inch-thick femurs, scientists have surmised that future fossils might also reveal similarly-sized dinos. That means it’s possible that the T. rex of our imaginations might actually have been smaller than in reality.

Back when “Scotty” roamed the earth, the area of Canada around which the fossils were found looked a bit different than it does today. It was subtropical, scientists say, and probably a pretty wild place. The bones left behind by Scotty from 68 million years ago suggest the dino had gotten into at least one pretty bad fight: A few of its teeth showed signs of infection, it had broken and healing ribs, and its tailbone was broken.

It is possible, scientists told National Geographic, that their interpretation of Scotty’s weight might be incorrect. Perhaps it had bigger femurs not to support a lot of weight, but to withstand the pressures of running as it hunted down prey. Until more fossils are uncovered and studied, that much will remain a mystery.