Scientists studying world’s largest T. rex to gain insight into dinosaurs, evolution

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Scientists studying world’s largest T. rex to gain insight into dinosaurs and evolution
WATCH: Scotty, the world's largest T. rex, has captured the public's attention since it was first discovered in Saskatchewan, back in 1991. Now, researchers are taking a closer look at the dinosaur's remains using advanced light technology. Taz Dhaliwal explains what scientists are hoping to find. – Mar 22, 2022

Scientists are hoping to learn more about dinosaurs and evolution by studying a fossils from a 67-million-year-old Saskatchewan T. rex.

Scotty, the world’s largest T. rex, has captured the public’s attention since it was first discovered in Eastend, Sask., in 1991.

Now, researchers from the University of Regina (U of R) and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM) are taking a closer look at the dinosaur’s remains using the some advanced light technology from the University of Saskatchewan.

A team of researches may be on the verge of discovering some unprecedented details about dinosaurs all thanks to Scotty.

Scientists are using synchrotron light, which is millions of times brighter than the sun, to non-destructively analyze Scotty’s rib bones on a molecular level, leading them to find something unexpected.

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“There was a series of structures that were very similar to vascular canals … in another word, blood vessels, and it’s quite a lot, it’s not just one or two of those structures,” said Dr. Mauricio Barbi, University of Regina physics professor.

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Barbi adds this is the first time such a vast network of what they strongly believe to be blood vessels has been identified in a T. rex.

The professor emphasized that it is too early to state and confirm findings from the ongoing research project, which has been happening for over a year now.

Jerit Mitchell, physics master’s student at the University of Regina, explains that the synchrotron technology making this experiment possible, comes from the Canadian light source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan..

Mitchell then uses the data from CLS to construct 3D models.

“Basically, what this beam allows us to do is analyze different types of fossils, particularly the bones because they’re very, very dense we need intense light to be able to penetrate through them,” Mitchell said.

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Barbi also said the analyses may give a better comprehension about Scotty’s habits and how the animal lived and how fast it had to grow to face dangers.

The researchers are hoping Scotty’s remains will help them gain greater insight, not only into dinosaurs, but also the science of evolution in general.

“This gives us a chance to revisit some of the older specimens we’ve collected with the University of Regina,” said Ryan McKellar, Royal Saskatchewan Museum curator of paleontology.

“Almost like library books, they’re always in the collection, looking for new analytical techniques and this sheds new light on Scotty and how some of these other big dinosaurs were preserved in the rock record,” he added.

The group is in the process of reviewing collected data and are bracing themselves for new discoveries waiting to be unearthed.

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