Fossils & Minerals:  Dinosaurs & Birds:  STAN T. rex Skull
STAN Skull
STAN - The Beauty of the Beast

The Tyrannosaurus rex known as STAN probably has the best preserved and the most complete dinosaur skull yet discovered anywhere in the world. Nearly every bone of STAN's skull was recovered during excavation. In addition, the skull was almost entirely disarticulated - meaning each bone was separated from the others. This allowed the bones to be preserved with little or no distortion or crushing during their millions of years of burial.

The disarticulation of the skull bones also provided scientists a unique ability to examine each individual skull bone as well as study each bone's connection and movement in relation to the others. Thus, an entire new body of knowledge has been acquired about the functions and kinetics (motions) of Tyrannosaurus rex skulls and also of other large theropod (meat-eating dinosaurs) skulls.

Forty-seven separate bones plus 35 loose teeth were assembled in the reconstruction of STAN's skull. Only two small skull bones from the inside of STAN's lower jaw were missing. The study and reconstruction of these skull elements provided clear evidence that Tyrannosaurus rex had the largest brain, the keenest eyesight and sense of smell, the strongest teeth and the most powerful jaws of any other dinosaur presently known. Obviously this largest and most powerful of the world's land carnivores was aptly named for Tyrannosaurus rex means 'King of the Tyrant Lizards'.

STAN SkullThe discovery of the STAN skull, in its disarticulated state gave scientists new insight into the structure of the T. rex skull. New bones were discovered which had been thought to be parts of other bones. Particularly curious are 2 bones on each side just above the orbit (eye socket). These two bones give T. rex the look of heavy eyebrows, and the hint of a horn-like structure above the eye. Many other bones had never before been seen from all perspectives.

Prominent on the STAN skull are several healed injuries. Careful inspection shows slight asymmetry of the overall skull. On the nasal (nose) and upper edge of one maxilla (upper jaw bone) is a healed injury that may have been from muzzle-biting, a common behavior in some reptiles during courtship. Other injuries may have been the result of real combat such as the perforation of the cheek and of the crest of the braincase. T. rex probably fought with its own kind over territory or food.

Besides offering STAN's magnificent skull attached to the rest of his skeleton, the Institute also has an assortment of mounted poses of the skull by itself. These range from a full skull and the first twelve vertebrae to a half skull (side to side) that mounts to most walls.

T.rex section of our Catalog...

 - STAN the T. rex
 - SUE the T. rex
 - T. rex specimen chart
 - Acrocanthosaurus
 - CLAWS Struthiomimus
 - Horned Dinosaurs
 - KELSEY Triceratops
 - Edmontosaurus

 - Fossil Birds


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 - Dinosaurs & Birds
 - Reptiles & Amphibians
 - Fishes

 - Mollusks
 - Echinoderms
 - Arthropods

 - Plants & Amber

 - Minerals
 - Meteorites
 - Geology


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