T.rex Tuesday - My first T.rex

Good afternoon and welcome to another T.rex Tuesday. As most of you know, I started this page mainly because I wanted to use the enthusiasm for Tyrannosaurus rex as a "gateway dinosaur" to inspire a deeper look into the science and lore of dinosaurs. For me, that enthusiasm dates clear back to my earliest childhood. But my exposure to arguably the most popular dinosaur didn't come until much, much later. I thought I might tell that story really quickly, and then ask two simple questions: what inspired your enthusiasm for dinosaurs? And when did you first meet the Tyrant King?

Cast of AMNH 5027 at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, WY. Even after years of dinosaur enthusiasm, I was in my early 30s before I saw this, my first Tyrannosaurus rex. 

Cast of AMNH 5027 at Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs, WY. Even after years of dinosaur enthusiasm, I was in my early 30s before I saw this, my first Tyrannosaurus rex. 

The answer to that second question for me came well into my adult life, while I was visiting with the family of my ex-wife in Rock Springs, WY. While they were visiting, I was busily trying to find ways to entertain my two youngest boys. Somebody suggested taking them to Western Wyoming Community College to see their dinosaur display. The rest, if you will, is history. Mainly in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History, WWCC has a surprisingly robust collection of fossil casts on display. They range from Stegosaurus to Elasmosaurus, and even a cast of the "Lucy" hominid. They also have a reproduction moai from Easter Island. It's a pretty impressive display, and a hidden gem for a small community college.

But of course, the centerpiece is the cast of AMNH 5027, one of the very first Tyrannosaurus rexes to be displayed, and the most complete for the better part of the last century. Its hard to imagine that this was the first time that I had seen a Tyrannosaurus skeleton in some fashion. But one valuable lesson that I took away from that was the power of making casts available for display. We're very fortunate that there has been such an explosion in dinosaur science over the last three decades. But even so, with such a limited number of Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons to have been found, the likelihood that one could be kept in a small community college is next to impossible. 

Another look at the cast of AMNH 5027 at WWCC in Rock Springs, WY. Though these photos are from last year, the cast provided my first exposure to T.rex, about 15 years prior to the photo.

Another look at the cast of AMNH 5027 at WWCC in Rock Springs, WY. Though these photos are from last year, the cast provided my first exposure to T.rex, about 15 years prior to the photo.

So, it's your turn. What was your first T.rex memory? Or your favorite? I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say. Until next time, take care!