The skeleton, which was discovered in 2013 in the USA. and it is one of the best preserved in the world, will be exhibited until February 18
Trix was a giant Tyrannosaurus rex that survived clashes with other dinosaurs, bone fractures and devastating infections. Before dying, 67 million years ago, he surpassed the unusual age of 30 years. The stakes that he suffered throughout his life were engraved on his bones, extracted in 2014 years in Montana (United States) by a team of paleontologists from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center, the natural science museum in Leiden (Holland).
Today the Barcelona science museum CosmoCaixa has inaugurated an exhibition centered around the skeleton of Trix, which conserves 80% of the original bones. It is the third most complete skeleton of T. rex found to date, one of the best preserved and the oldest. He is currently on a tour of Europe, and the museum of the Obra Social ‘La Caixa’ will be the only Spanish center that exposes it.
When the team of paleontologists arrived at the Hell Creek Formation, one of the most studied geological formations, “a pair of tyrannosaur teeth poked up the side of a hill. And on the other side the hip appeared, “recalls Anne Schulp, current leader of the expedition that took Trix. “And we ask ourselves: will there be an entire tyrannosaur buried in this hill?”, Declared the paleontologist in the presentation of Trix to the media, in CosmoCaixa.
The fifteen members of the expedition took only thirty days to discover it. “It was an incredibly pleasant dig. The hill was made of sand without fossilizing, we only had to remove it with brushes “. And so the Trix bones emerged, one by one, extraordinarily well preserved under the sand, without any deformation. “The tail was the most exciting part,” says Schulp. “We were finding all the vertebrae in order. No one had ever found a tail of T. rex whole … In the end, it turned out that the tip was missing. The tail is still the last mystery of the skeleton of this dinosaur. ”
It also lacked the four legs, and part of the jaw. In the end, the right rear leg ended up appearing on a nearby hill. “We excavated all the surrounding hills, but we did not find anything else,” explains Anne Schulp, who talks about the twelve-meter-long dinosaur as if it were a daughter.
The long and eventful life of Trix
The paleontologist reads in his bones the long history of Trix, the oldest T. rex found until today. “If you look closely at the lower jaw, you see holes in the bone. Interestingly, they line up perfectly with the teeth of a T. rex. ” That means that Trix received a bite in the head of another member of the same species, and survived.
The skeleton also presents fractures healed in four ribs and in the right hind paw, as well as signs of an infection in the anterior part of the snout. “That hole looks really bad,” says Schulp. “It was a very serious infection, which came to erode the bone.” And, again, Trix survived. The only wounds that did not heal were scratches on the top of the nose. “He probably received them a few weeks before he died.” Anne Schulp explains that it is “tempting” to speculate that they had something to do with her death, but recognizes that there is no evidence.
The paleontologist admits that they can not be sure of the sex of Trix, since the reproductive organs do not leave fossils, but the robustness of their bones made them think that it was female. Its name comes from the old queen Beatrix of Holland, who reigned until 2013.
When Schulp and his team found Trix four years ago, there was already a lot of information available about the tyrannosaurs. However, the unusual conditions of preservation of the skeleton have offered new opportunities for paleontologists. Schulp is currently conducting a study on Trix tooth enamel that will allow him to learn more about the diet and the environment in which he lived. Other scientists are studying the lines of bone growth to find out how these dinosaurs grew and developed. Trix’s rib cage and tail, very well preserved, have given new clues about how he breathed and walked.
Visitors to CosmoCaixa will be able to face Trix’s original skeleton face to face, reconstructed to show what it would look like if it were complete, and exposed in a way that allows the visitor to “connect emotionally” with this huge dinosaur, according to Schulp. The exhibition will remain in the museum until next February 18.
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