Surfing the Net With Kids

By Barbara Feldman
February 25, 2011

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The Tyrannosaurus rex, affectionately nicknamed T. rex, was one of the largest land-based carnivores of all time. It weighed about six tons, stood 15 feet tall, had a length of about 40 feet, and lived during the late Cretaceous period.

Field Museum: SUE SUE, on display at the Field Museum in Chicago, is the largest and most complete dinosaur skeleton yet discovered. She was unearthed in 1990 at a dig in South Dakota, by amateur fossil hunter Sue Hendrikson. Although T. rex SUE is often referred to as “she’’ (because of her name), paleontologists have not yet determined her gender. Best educational clicks are found in Explore More (photo and video galleries) and Behind the Scenes (all about SUE and the science of SUE).

University of California Museum of Paleontology: The Tyrant Lizards “A current topic in paleontology that has received much popular press is the question of whether T. rex (or other Tyrannosauridae in general) were predators or scavengers. Let’s explore this issue.’’ This one-page overview from the paleontologists at UC Berkeley provides a summary of what is known about these huge dinosaurs, and introduces current issues. The museum has a dinosaur speed page (linked to from within the article) that explores evidence that is helping scientists determine how fast these huge beasts might have run.

Scholastic Teachers: Dinosaurs: T. Rex Dinosaur expert Don Lessem answers two dozen T. rex questions posed by elementary school students. “How many teeth did T. rex have?’’ “Could an allosaurus kill and eat a T. rex?’’ “How do we know that the Tyrannosaurus rex was the meanest dinosaur?’’ Below the Q&As, you’ll find links to an online dinosaur activity, related articles, and a lesson plan titled “If You Meet a Dinosaur’’ (based on the book “If You Meet a Dragon’’ by Joy Cowley).

Science Netlinks: Was T. Rex a Slow Poke? In the popular sci-fi movie “Jurassic Park,’’ a T. rex is seen running as fast as a Jeep could drive. But in real life, how fast could a Tyrannosaurus actually run? This audio podcast (and transcription) describes how scientists have tackled the issue of T. rex speed. “The bigger you are, the more leg muscle mass you need to run fast. But all that extra leg muscle can weigh you down, which in turn makes it harder to run. In other words, the math starts working against you. . . . Despite this, many scientists have estimated that the enormous T. rex could run at speeds up to 45 miles per hour.’’