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Etymology of the name Tyrannosaurus rex

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posted on Oct, 3 2022 @ 02:57 PM
Everyone knows that the iconic theropod dinosaur name Tyrannosaurus rex means "tyrant lizard king", and that many political cartoons tend to depict several dictators as T. rex-like monsters, but the 1905 paper by Henry Fairfield Osborn coining the name T. rex explains Osborn's rationale for the etymology of Tyrannosaurus rex:

I propose to make this animal the type of the new genus Tyrannosaurus, in reference to its size, which greatly exceeds that of any carnivorous land animal hitherto described.

Given that many of the 20th century's most brutal dictators came to power decades after Osborn coined the name T. rex, it is possible that Osborn either wanted to visualize Tyrannosaurus as occupying the top of the food chain in western North America 68-65 million years ago or intended to compare the predatory habits of T. rex with the leadership tactics of the ancient Greek tyrants.

posted on Oct, 3 2022 @ 03:06 PM
a reply to: Potlatch

Rex is probably size 'above average'.
It's a descriptive name people later didn't bring it in connection with dictators because of rex but because of a play on tyrant.

Like Begonia Rex, a plant. Nobody has any politician ever called that.

edit on 3-10-2022 by Peeple because: Add

posted on Oct, 3 2022 @ 03:53 PM
I dont know the information has changed but i learned that t-rex had the best vision of any land creature in history, it had the largest eye. Kinda #s up that scene in jurassic park when its looking in the jeep.

As far as im aware it was a scavenger, scaring off much smaller prey from their catch.
edit on 3-10-2022 by thethinkingman because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 3 2022 @ 03:57 PM
Yeah, there's also a genus of tiny birds called tyrannus. I think originally it meant a ruler who had all or most of the power? I'm not sure where it comes from, might be very ancient

posted on Oct, 3 2022 @ 04:22 PM
a reply to: Potlatch

In my opinion, you are trying to link the choice of the name to something completely unrelated.

in reference to its size, which greatly exceeds that of any carnivorous land animal hitherto described.

Seems easy enough to understand. The name alludes to the size.

posted on Oct, 3 2022 @ 04:53 PM
a reply to: Peeple

"Rex" means "King," literally. "Tyrannus" was referring to a "tyrant." "Saurus" referred to "lizard." The name "Tyrannosaurus Rex" meant "Tyrant Lizard King."

When dinosaur fossils were first discovered, most scientists of the time thought they were looking at massive ancient lizards. A quick look back at some of the early movie depictions of dinosaurs shows this quite clearly... they were depicted as giant geckos or chameleons. It was only later that we realized we were looking at a new family of life that had gone extinct.*

The "saurus" part of the name was pretty established by that time, and it's tough to rename something after initially naming it; it creates confusion. So "saurus" stuck.

T. Rex was the largest predatory fossil found, so it was assumed to be the top of the food chain (the "King" of the food chain) and the massive jaws and teeth was envisioned to be a terrible ruler of that food chain. Thus the name.

* I am speaking of generally-accepted scientific theory. There is some indication that a few species of dinosaurs may still exist, and I do not discount that possibility.


posted on Oct, 3 2022 @ 05:45 PM
a reply to: Potlatch

Apparently a T-Rex fossilised skeleton named 'Shen' will be auctioned in Singapore on 30th November this year, expected to fetch a total of around $22,000,000. Certainly not chump change.

Incidentally, 'Shen' is translated as 'God-like'. Fitting name for the lizard king?

There's some Japanese mythology about saurian spirit beings, though I can't recall their name.. Maybe David Icke knows?
Featured in the movie 47 Ronin, which is a classic imho.

posted on Oct, 3 2022 @ 10:14 PM
Whenever you have something starting with is because of the ancient powerful city of Tyre. Tyramines are named because of their powerful properties, this dinosaur is thought to have been a powerful reality it was probably just a pot head that ate cannabis and had the munchies all the time. It may have even had feathers from what I have read.

In the movies it is so loud and scary, but in reality it may have sung like a bird for all we know, the bones are not going to tell us what it sounded like.

posted on Oct, 4 2022 @ 12:17 PM
As evidenced by plant eater fossils found with healed wounds,T Rex was not just a scavenger but a Hunter.Probably like the big cats of today,catch it or kill it,whichever the opportunity.

posted on Oct, 5 2022 @ 11:40 AM
a reply to: Potlatch

Tyrants have always been a thing. I'm not sure why you need to go back to ancient Greece for any literal allusion in Osborn's choice of name -- if there is a literal allusion at all.

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