Theropod Thursday - Indy's Hard Luck Gorgosaurus

Gorgosaurus libratus specimen TCMI 2001.89.1 shares the Dinosphere with Bucky the T.rex and others at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.

Gorgosaurus libratus specimen TCMI 2001.89.1 shares the Dinosphere with Bucky the T.rex and others at the Indianapolis Children's Museum.

It's Theropod Thursday time! Who's hungry? This week, I wanted to circle back to a specimen that I have been meaning to feature again but keep missing. TCMI 2001.89.1 is a Gorgosaurus libratus. It was discovered in 1997 in northwestern Montana, and is one of the most complete Gorgosaurs to be found. 75% of the skeleton was found, including 90% of the skull. Most remarkable there was the well preserved nasal structure, which may end up being very informative when further studied.

Also remarkable for this particular Gorgosaurus is the number of pathologies noted in the skeleton, including two separate broken leg bones, broken gastralia, crushed tail vertebrae, and a broken scapula. Most alarmingly, the specimen showed signs of mouth infection leading to bad and lost teeth, and a brain tumor - possibly the first dinosaur tumor to be discovered. It's likely that these last two pathologies in particular were very painful, and may have contributed to its death. It's also possible that the dinosaur couldn't have survived without assistance from other pack mates, which suggests volumes of possibilities regarding Tyrannosaurid behaviors.

Gorgosaurus is a smaller but well developed relative of Tyrannosaurus rex, living 76 million years ago in western North America. Most of the remains discovered have come from the Dinosaur Park formation in southern Alberta. It was a contemporary of Daspletosaurus, and in some areas appeared to have shared the same territory as its slightly larger cousin. The specimen in Indianapolis is a bit smaller than Bucky, the teenaged T.rex that it shares space with. Fully grown, G. libratus measured 25-30 feet in length, and weighed just shy of three tons. As a large number of skeletons have been found, it is one of the most well studied members of the Tyrannosaur family.