Researchers don’t know if it’s a boy or girl, but named it Scotty because when they made the discovery, they celebrated with a toast using the only spirit on hand: a bottle of scotch.
Scotty was found back in the early 1990s in Canada’s Badlands, which were popular dinosaur stomping grounds, reports CBS News’ Jamie Yuccas. It took almost a decade to pull it all out of the ground and it wasn’t until recently that scientists realized just how big it really was.
Scott Persons was at the original dig site and led the team reconstructing Scotty. He says its bones reveal Scotty had a tough ride back in Mesozoic times.
“Scotty lived a hard-knock life. It’s got evidence of a broken jaw, an impacted tooth, a section of its tail where the vertebrae seem to have been compressed possibly from the bite of another tyrannosaur,” Persons said. “These are not injuries from a single injury in his life but from a continued life of a lot of lumps.”
Paleontologists believe Scotty weighed nearly 20,000 pounds, or about as much as six and a half Volkswagen Beetles. Scotty was such a behemoth it edged out Sue, the famous T. rex at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, which was 40 feet long and weighed more than 18,000 pounds.
Wes Long spent more than 10 years unearthing Scotty’s bones from the ground and helped reconstruct the carnivorous king.
“You are in awe of what you are uncovering. You will be zipping away with your air hammer and all of a sudden a piece of rock would fly off and there is like a beautiful tooth there, and you are just like, ‘Wow, this thing, it’s huge, like massive,'” Long said.
Scientists found they had about 65% of the skeleton intact, including the skull and lower jaw; vertebrae from the neck, back and tail; and parts of the hips, leg and shoulder. All the parts make up an astonishing sight people from all over the world are coming to see.
Asked why people love the T. rex so much, Long said, “Well, it’s just has had that long history even in pop culture as being the big bad dinosaur, and it’s just one that people could really identify with. … It’s just been a popular dinosaur throughout history.”
Scotty will go on display to the public this Friday. In addition to its size, it has other claims to fame: for instance, when it roamed the earth nearly 70 million years ago, it likely reached its 30th birthday, making it the longest-lived T. rex on record.