Happy New Years everyone! We're sure you're just as glad as us that 2020 is finally over.
And now, for the big reveal. Yes, it's finally here: Dinosauria's Tyrannosaurus model!
The reference for the anatomy of the model was two skeletal images created by a fantastic paleo skeletal artist that goes by Franoys (though he is not actually affiliated with Dinosauria, we just referenced his images). The reference for the skull of the model was the Tyrannosaurus specimen BHI 3033, nicknamed "Stan" (the one that made headlines not too long ago due to unfortunately being sold).
We used Stan as the skull reference because he has the best preserved skull of any Tyrannosaurus specimen. This picture below of a cast of him on display at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) clearly shows just how gorgeous his face is.
The other skeletal reference was another extremely popular and very complete Tyrannosaurus specimen, and perhaps the most iconic dinosaur specimen of all time: FMHR PR 2081, also known as Sue. This is due to her being the most complete.
When comparing the skeletal images to side and top views of the model, it's very clear that our Tyrannosaurus model is 100% accurate to the real animal's anatomy.
Though it may seem obvious we would gets this right, you would actually be surprised at how often Tyrannosaurus is inaccurately reconstructed from an anatomy standpoint, despite how iconic the animal is. The skull especially is all too often butchered. Even Walking with Dinosaurs, the documentary that we all know and adore and actually inspired this project, actually has a pretty lackluster Tyrannosaurus model, which is surprising considering how great the rest of the series was in terms of scientific accuracy for the time. The team behind Dinosauria made sure not to repeat the same mistake. In Dinosauria, every single animal model in the series will be given an equal amount of attention to scientific accuracy, and every step of the way we will ensure quality in our models in accordance to current scientific knowledge.
In fact, because of this, soon we will have a completely new model for Camposaurus and Syntarsus (the two will share a very similar model, though they will have their differences), as we have decided that the current one we have simply isn't going to cut it.
Anyway, back to Tyrannosaurus. We also made sure to get the musculature of the animal correct, which is another thing that is all too often gotten wrong. To make it short, Tyrannosaurus was choncc, and we made sure to reconstruct it that way.
These were the musculature references that were used during the making of the model.
Above: Victoria the T. rex model made for the Arizona Science Center
Above: Oliver Demuth’s reconstruction of Tyrannosaurus' myo-anatomy
Above: Matt Dempsey Tyrannosaurus musculature drawing
And next, the skin. The integument of Tyrannosaurus has been the matter of controversy and debate for the last decade. For Dinosauria's model, we went with the current consensus in the paleo community regarding integument; the animal was pretty much entirely covered in small, bird-like scales with occasional very small, sparse feathers like peach fuzz or elephant hair.
This diagram was used as the reference for the different types of scaly integument on the different areas of the body.
Images of cassowaries, emus, and komodo dragons were used as references for the scales and wrinkles and the feet (in the case of the former two examples).
When looking at these pictures of ratite bird legs side by side to those of Tyrannosaurus, it becomes really obvious why birds are classified as dinosaurs.
The feet in particular were given an extra amount of attention. The modeler Sergi actually consulted with someone who has seen footprints of the animal in person, so we were able to absolutely nail it.
We are very proud of how our Tyrannosaurus model has turned out. By using some of the best of references we were able to ensure scientific accuracy across the board, and hopefully this model will go down as one of the best ever featured in any dinosaur documentary.
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Second, let's end on easily the best perspective you can see the model from.