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Don't mix and match your Tyrannosaurus?

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I mentioned awhile back that I was overhauling my specimen-based T. rex comparison chart (and perhaps adding to it). This is a quick update showing the differences between the type specimen (CM 9380) and the famous New York specimen (AMNH 5027). These were the first two specimens (of any completeness) ever found, and because they are fairly similar in size they have been combined to create the traditional T. rex mounts you see in many museums world wide.

With a century of hind-sight available I'm not convinced this was a good idea. While it's obviously hard to compare much between the two animals (the AMNH specimen lacks any limb material, while the Carnegie specimen is missing almost all of the neck and tail) they still show off some interesting differences. The pelvis of the type specimen really does come across as rather robust (the pubis seems to match Sue's in heft), but oddly the skull appears to be slightly shorter (based primarily on the lower jaw),

This could easily be chalked up to individual variation (compare your average NBA player with Jay Leno and you see far greater diversity), but it does emphasize the importance of looking at individual specimens in a species, rather than assuming you can mix and match them at will.

P.S. I know many of you care about size estimates. Hopefully it's clear that we have no way of knowing which of the two specimens was actually larger, given how much is missing. I gave a very slightly longer estimate to the CM specimen because that's what I come up with, but that's assuming a tail that is similar in proportion as the AMNH specimen, and as we just discussed that's not necessarily a safe assumption.
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Pyranniosaurusrex44's avatar
yeah tyrannosaurus!!!T. rex Roar Icon