The Red & Black

Scotty, the Largest T. Rex Found


Excavation began three years later in 1994 with astounding results. Since Scotty’s fossilized remains were encased in hard sandstone, it was difficult to retrieve his bones. After more than two decades, Scotty’s bones were recovered and reassembled to undergo further research. Approximately 65% of the dinosaur’s bones were discovered, ranging from the skull to bones found in the ribs, legs, and tail.

Coincidentally, the leader of Scotty’s study was Scott Pearson, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Alberta. From the more than 20 different fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex individuals, researchers like Pearson have begun to observe trends and patterns within this species, making it one of the most documented and observed dinosaurs. Utilizing these patterns along with new ways of estimation and measurement, Pearson and his team have concluded that Scotty is the world’s largest T. rex individual to have been discovered.

One of the most important measurements that have been made on fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex were the assessments of the length and diameter of the femur bone. Scotty’s femur was recorded to be a staggering eight inches across at the estimated age of 30 when he died. Through further analysis, it has been projected that Scotty’s legs could have supported a body weight of 19,500 pounds across a 42-foot long body.

Despite these huge scientific discoveries, not all dinosaur fans have accepted this news, especially admirers of Sue, the Tyrannosaurus rex displayed at Chicago’s Field Museum. Sue was found in South Dakota in 1990 and was a fossil finding characterized by its astonishing size. Sue has remained one of the most remarkably fossilized organisms as around 90% of her bones have been retrieved.

Compared to Sue, Scotty is estimated to have weighed around 900 pounds more using femur length measurement techniques, but this mean of creating a size projection isn’t always accurate. Since this species of dinosaur was known to have been agile and fast, T. rex individuals must have had specially engineered femurs and leg bones to support their movement. This meant that scientists might have overshot their calculations of how large Scotty was. Furthermore, the bones of Sue and Scotty were extremely similar in size. In fact, the hip structures, femurs, tibiae, and fibulae of the two dinosaurs came at a less than 1% difference in length.

Although the term “largest dinosaur ever discovered” may actually not be applicable to Scotty, the scientific discovery itself has proved to have a tremendous impact on the knowledge about dinosaurs. Through Scotty’s bone structure, paleontologists now have a better understanding of the range of growth in the Tyrannosaurus rex species. Additionally, further investigation of Scotty’s remains have shown that he endured many physical injuries as a rather old individual. Struggles for survival were observed in the bite marks, infected wounds, and broken bones of Scotty. One of the study’s authors, Dr. Erickson, has summarized the importance of uplifting news like this because “There is so much negativity in the world, but this is neutral. It’s just fun.”

Even though it is difficult to prove that Scotty truly is the world’s largest Tyrannosaurus rex to have been discovered, people can continue to admire these huge creatures, as long as they remain in the form of fossils.