T.rex Tuesday says Goodbye to California

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Last week, T.rex Road Trip World HQ made a cross-country move from Sacramento to Minneapolis. We were expecting to be headed to Florida, but a last minute diversion brought us temporarily to Minneapolis instead. It’s not the final move - we’re exploring a lot of different options right now, including doing some seasonal consulting work that will have us moving around every 3-6 months. Either way, we’re reflecting on our time in the Golden State by revisiting some of our favorite California memories. And certainly, few stand out more than our visits to the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History in LA.

The LACM is a fantastic musuem only 20 minutes or so away from downtown, and it’s renovated Jane G. Pisano Dinosaur Hall is one of the best we’ve visited. They have some great displays that will keep us busy in these pages for a long time to come. But the centerpiece of it all has to be the Tyrannosaurus rex growth series, comprised of three T.rex skeletons ranging from sub-adult to just a few years old. It’s a great comparison in the growth rates of our focus species. It was after a stop here in September of 2016 that the first ideas for the original T.rex Road Trip were born.

LACM 238471 is the smallest of the rexes, estimated to be just three years old. The mid-sized rex is LACM 23845, which was discovered in 1966 along with well-known LA T.rex “Harley”, LACM 23844, whose skull was at one point the most complete to have been found. This rex was estimated to be around 13 years of age. By contrast, LACM 7509/150167 “Thomas” is only a few years older, but significantly larger as a nearly fully grown sub-adult specimen.

The display isn’t without its controversy, of course. The mid-sized specimen was originally described as a new species of Albertosaurus, and later as a new species entirely, Dinotyrannus. And the smallest specimen is still argued by some as a specimen of the highly debated Nanotyrannus. But no matter what your stance is on the specific dinosaurs, one thing is for certain - the LACM’s T.rex Growth Series is an impressive display that is hard to beat.