Monday, December 06, 2010

Tyrannosaurs Rex: Beast with the Least

I first learned about dinosaurs in the 1970s.   I was five.
The biggest, baddest one of all was Tyrannosaurs Rex.*   Illustrations showed him stomping around like Godzilla.  His mouth hung open, presumably for roaring. And those teeth!

In books and movies, T-Rex was either:
  1. Chasing dinosaurs
  2. Grabbing them by the neck
  3. Eating them.

 He was the dinosaur.  The king of them all!  Few would mess with him, except perhaps other T-Rexes.  And what battles those would have been!
A kiddie song about him went like this:
Tyrannosaurus king of the reptiles,
Teeth sharp like steak knives,
Fights all to live or die!
Tyrannosaurus he had a tiny brain,
But as the king he reigned,
By making the others lame.
Tyrannosaurus he was a great big guy,
Ferocious and feared by all,
Though his arms were very small.
Tyrannosaurus king of the reptiles,
Teeth sharp like steak knives,
Fights all to live or die!
As I entered my teens and twenties, ugly rumors were adrift.  T-Rex  probably held himself parallel to the ground, not upright, it was said.  Instead of lurching around like a bear on his hind legs, he was slinking along, like a naughty dog.. Even worse, it was speculated that this vicious predator might have been, in fact, a scavenger!  Instead of killing, was he picking through leftovers?
Ferocious beasts don't beg for left overs...

Recently, it got worse:
There's some evidence that T-Rex might have had feathers.  Feathers!**
Vicious,  brutes can't have feathers!
The once savage beast was now eating scraps and sporting plumage.
His rep as a beast has been destroyed.
As for the T-Rex fights I mentioned earlier, I'm afraid the truth might be closer to this:
Mrs and Mr T-Rex

*Okay, there were dinos much  bigger than he was, but they didn't count because they stood in swamps and chewed leaves.  I suppose I could have set "Biggest of the Baddest" or "Biggest as a subset of Baddest" but that sounds dopey.
**Actually it's believed that if they were feathered, it may only have been when they were young,


stray said...

Especially love the top illustration.

Linda said...

I love the top one, too, but love the bottom cartoon about Mrs. & Mr. T-Rex.

RHSteeleOH said...

I love the barge-butt line. Very funny.

Namowal said...

Thanks, Stray.
The original background was much lighter but then I darkened it for drama.
Hi Linda,
Thanks! Speaking of Mrs. T-Rex, when I taught pre-school we were doing a dinosaur unit and the kids, especially the boys couldn't believe that T-Rexes were both boys and girls.
The "barge butt" line popped in my head when I was driving home from work. It's an anachronism, for sure, but so is the modern English that they're speaking.

booda baby said...

WonderFUL!! It's always a little disappointing to watch our heroes become diminished by the truth. Damn that truth.

Anonymous said...

do you have any idea who sang that kiddie song??? i used to have it on tape! i'm trying to get a copy now as an adult but am not having any luck figuring out who recorded it.

Anonymous said...

It is believed Tyrannosaurus was an opportunistic predator, scavenging or hunting depending on the circumstances. As for it's feathers, here's some consolation.

I don't know about you, but he's paralleled to the ground, feathered, and still badass imo