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What is the closest relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex?

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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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What is the closest relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex?
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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:

    How did the Tyrannosaurus rex reproduce?

    A:

    The Tyrannosaurus rex, like other dinosaurs and their surviving modern-day bird relatives, reproduced sexually. The female then laid fertilized eggs from which newborn tyrannosaurs would hatch.

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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:

    What did Tyrannosaurus rex eat?

    A:

    Tyrannosaurus rex primarily ate herbivore dinosaurs, including the Edmontosaurus and the Triceratops. Studies suggest that the Tyrannosaurus rex also practiced cannibalism. Paleontologists believe that if two Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaurs fought to the death, the winner would eat the loser, based on bite marks found on Tyrannosaurus bones.

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