The American Museum of Natural History presents the new, more accurate T. rex.
- Hatchling, four-year-old, and adult models show us new sides of the famous predator.
- They're part of the T. rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit running from March 2019 to August 2020.
- Attention time travelers: You may want to pet the feathered hatchling. Don't.
There's no doubt that the adult Tyrannosaurus Rex was a fearsome predator, with a powerful bite that could cause the head of a victim to explode from sheer force. Of course, much of what we've longed "known" about T. rex is informed speculation based on incomplete information. However, paleontologists at New York's American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) are about to unveil the result of a remarkable project.
They've constructed stunning models of the T. rex as a hatchling, as a four-year-old, and as an adult based on the latest discoveries and thinking. Their intent is to provide the most scientifically accurate renderings ever of the T. rex as part of their "T. rex: The Ultimate Predator"exhibit running from March 11, 2019 to August 9, 2020.
The biggest surprise? The hatchling. Who ever thought a T. rex could be so, well, crazy-cute!?
Latest fossil discoveries
Image source: AMNH/AMNH / R. Peterson
As more fossils are discovered, we learn more and more about the Tyrannosauroidea family. The first discovery of a feathered dinosaur, the Sinosauropteryx prima in 1996, suggested we might've been picturing the ancient creatures, including T. rex, incorrectly. More recent discoveries such as the Yutyrannus huali have only bolstered this suspicion. In addition, archeologists have begun finding infant Tyrannousaur fossils, and this has allowed the team at the AMNH, led by Mark Norell, to realistically imagine T. rex at three life stages for the "Ultimate Predator" exhibit.
Not all Tyrannosaurs were T. rexes — there were dozens of Tyrannosaur species, and no others were as large. The "Ultimate Predator" show includes a number of them, including the Dilong paradoxus. Most were about the size of a T. rex youngster as adults. They were all, however, all dangerous predators — and the AMNH exhibit will feature new representations of a variety of family members. Most Tyrannousaurs were fast runners, unlike the adolescent and adult T. rex, a slower-moving death machine. (The hatchling ran.)
There's still a fair amount of conjecture involved, but between what's visible in the fossil record and what can be seen today in T. rex's living relatives, there's little doubt that experts are growing ever-closer to a complete understanding of these creatures who last roamed the earth some 68 million years ago. A lot can be inferred from these familial connections, including feeding and parenting behaviors and various as-yet-unknown physical features. For example, fossilized T. rex footprints are nearly identical to the modern emu, albeit bigger, and so inferences can be made about their feet.
Speaking of skin, contrary to the traditional belief that T. rex's skin was akin to a contemporary lizard's or snake's, experts now suspect it was actually a more leathery covering, similar to that of the foot of a chicken or the leg of a turtle.
The new AMNH models reflect the latest theories regarding every minute details of their physiognomy.
The hatchling T. rex
Image source: AMNH/D. Finnin
About 60 percent of T. rex hatchlings — about the size of turkeys — probably didn't survive to their first birthday. The downy-feathered tykes grew quickly, though, about 140 pounds a month, but it still took until they were about 20 to reach full size. Experts believe that they were quick little predators with lots of tiny, needle-like teeth. Like modern Komodo dragons, they probably fed on insects and smaller vertebrates before maturing into their grownup fare.
The four-year-old T. rex
By the time T. rex was around four, it was as big as other non-rex Tyrannosaurs. (AMNH says this is about five times the size of a four-year-old human boy.) It was fully feathered, with teeth good for slicing and cutting as opposed to crushing, the speciality of the adult T. rex. At this stage, T. rex also had long arms — it's believed they stopped growing prior to reaching full size, resulting in the oddly teeny arms of the adult T. rex.
Adult T. rex
Even scarier than before? Image source: AMNH/D. Finnin
This is the terrifying bad boy — or girl — we know and fear, albeit likely with more feathers than you might have once thought. The monster was up to 40 feet long, and weighed between 11,000 and 15,500 pounds.
T. rex's banana-shaped teeth and mighty jaws could clamp down with 7,800 pounds of force — that's about the weight of three cars. It was one of very few creatures ever to be capable of pulverizing and digesting the solid bone of prey. (30–50 percent of T. rex coprolites, fossilized poop, is actually crushed bone.)
If that wasn't enough, we now know that T. rex senses were super-sharp. Orange-sized eyes faced forward, hawk-like, and were set far enough apart that T. rex had great depth vision. Examination of its brain casings suggests an exceptional sense of smell and of hearing, too.
The new exhibit has a shadow-theater floor projection of one of these nightmares coming to life.
If you're fortunate enough to visit the AMNH for the T. rex: The Ultimate Predator exhibit, you'll have the opportunity to get up close and personal — safely — with T. rex.
- They'll have a definitive life-sized model of an adult T. rex, replete with patches of feathers.
- There will be several hatchling reconstructions, as well as a four-year-old T. rex.
- A "roar mixer" will allow visitors to construct their own T. rex roars by combining the vocalization of related animals.
- You can wander through an interactive Cretaceous environment.
- Dig in at a fossil "investigation station" with all the tools a paleontologist could want: a CT scanner, measuring tools, and a microscope.
Most of those who try to sneak stuff onboard succeed.
- 32.4 percent of American travelers try to sneak forbidden items onboard.
- 87.7 percent of them succeed.
- It's mostly about recreational drugs, but also about explosives, poisons, and infectious items.
If you travel by air these days, odds are your opinion of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents you meet on security lines aren't exactly neutral. They're there to make us feel more secure on airplanes, and maybe even be more secure. But while they comfort some of us, they aggravate others, removing our shoes and exposing us to invasive backscatter X-rays while exhibiting all the warmth and compassion a $19.31-per-hour job elicits. (That's the average; TSA agents start at $16.) Of course, in spring 2018 alone, the TSA screened over 72 million passengers, so that's a lot of trays, bags, shoes, and semi-nude body pix to go through. There's also some skepticism that we're really all that much more secure for all of this.
Stratos Jet Charters recently conducted a survey of people who've tried to sneak illicit materials past the TSA, after first ascertaining that about 32.4% of us have. The company surveyed 1,001 people about what they attempted to smuggle onboard and why. By the way, 87.7% of them were successful—not a ringing endorsement for our friends at the TSA. Stratos Jet Charters compiled the results of its survey as a series of often-disturbing visualizations called Protected: Sky-High Smuggling.
All infographics in this article are by Stratos Jet Charters
What’s being smuggled, and why? Mostly drugs, because.
Far and away, drugs make up the lion's share of the stuff people surreptitiously get onto airplanes—counting grass, its cousins, and illegal prescription drugs, we're talking 48% of what women secretly travel with, and 55.8% of what men smuggle aboard. For women, it's about half and half, but for men, it's very much mostly marijuana.
Next up is weapons and ammo, at a much lower 8.5% for females and 15.2% for males. Next up is 140-proof-plus alcohol, really strong stuff, and hopefully not brought aloft by the same people who bring guns.
Even more disturbing is that people are bringing "poisonous or infectious materials" into a packed aircraft. While a popular trope for TV shows—see season 1 of Fringe—this sounds truly scary for real life. Checking the TSA's prohibited items list, though, reveals the kind of things one might find in this category. It's mostly pretty obvious and not 12 Monkeys stuff.
Regardless of the item, the taboo carry-ons are mostly sneaked in because these passengers didn't want to do without them during their travel. Some consider such an item a memento of their trip, either because it's not legal at home or they see it as a souvenir. And it seems 6.4% are drug mules or gun runners...just saying.
How we’re sneaking things onboard
There are a range of ways people get their contraband into the cabin. Women are more likely to pack it into their checked bags, while men—brazen souls—are more likely to secretly stuff it in carry-ons. Apparently the TSA has reason to check our shoes, too. (We don't think we want to know what "OTHER" means.)
Getting high up high
So, the big ticket item is marijuana, and primarily for personal use, by a long shot. A lot of this traffic has to do with inconsistencies in grass' legal status from place to place.
By a small margin, most of the weed making it into the skies, 88.5%, is in edible form, especially among those who haven't gotten busted. Baggie toters also generally get away with it—they represent 68.8% of the successful travelers.
The people who most often got stopped were—duh—those carrying blunts. We assume this includes critters sufficiently crispy to float up to the gate with visible spliffs.
Getting even higher in the skies
Some are inclined to bring other illegal, often harder, drugs on their trips. Heroin, cocaine, and opium top the list. Next up is psychedelic LSD, followed by mind-alterers such as Khat, MDMA, peyote, and mushrooms.
Unprescribed prescription drugs that are most often smuggled are Benzodiazepines, presumably to smooth out travel jitters, and sleep aids, to knock a passenger out altogether.
Some work, mostly play
Most of this DIY smuggling is taking place during personal travel—it's risky enough without jeopardizing one's job. Of course, if it's related to your work...
The only category of items that breaks 20% on business trips is unauthorized weapons and ammunition, so, um. The people in the survey traveled a lot more, 69%, for personal reasons than for business purposes, 31%, anyway.
As you hit your next security line or board your next aircraft, there's some solace in knowing that most of us don't deliberately smuggle contraband onboard. While 32.4% is a sizable number of us that do, there's some solace in knowing that 67.6 of those in line with you don't.
An interactive periodic table with pictures makes it easy to see how each element is used.
The periodic table is an important but rather dry scientific tool. It lists all the chemical elements, ordered by their atomic numbers. Elements with similar behavior are grouped in the same column (called a group), with metals generally on the left and non-metals (gases) on the right. Rows are called “periods” - hence, periodic table.
All in all, it can be hard for someone not well versed in chemistry to know what all these elements are and where they are used. Enter Keith Enevoldsen, a Boeing software engineer with a degree in physics who created a super-helpful version of the periodic table that makes it easy to see what all the elements can do. His table is interactive and features helpful pictures. Impress your friends and yourself by learning the applications of astatine (radioactive medicine), molybdenum (cutting tools like scissors), krypton (flashlights) and other elements.
Check it out yourself here (or click thru for the interactive version):
And if pictures aren’t your thing, you can see the same table in words, with detailed descriptions:
For more features and to see if you perhaps need element trading cards (also available), check out Keith’s page here.
The first periodic table was published in 1869 by the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, who called his work the Periodic System. Mendeleev put all the known elements in the correct order, based on their relative atomic masses, while successfully predicting the properties of the elements still to be discovered. He was not the only one working on this, with people like British John Newlands, French Alexandre Béguyer de Chancourtois and German Julius Lothar Meyer making important contributions. Still, Mendeleev is considered the "father" of the periodic table for his lasting arrangement.