Stan is a Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the largest predatory dinosaurs of all time. He lived about 66 million years ago, hunting the jungles and savannas of western North America near the end of the age of dinosaurs.
Stan was a powerful, agile, and bipedal killing machine. Nearly 40 feet (12 meters) long and 12 feet (3.7 meters) high at the hips, Stan weighed as much as 6 tons (5.4 metric tons). Stan hunted with his acute sense of smell, 3-D vision and great speed powered by his huge and muscular hind legs. He probably used his tiny arms like meat hooks to stab his prey. Stan had about 60 huge, blade-like teeth set in a powerful skull that he used to tear his victims apart.
T. rex fossils are rare but several have been found in New Mexico. However, no complete skeletons have been discovered. The T. rex in this exhibit is a replica of a nearly complete skeleton that was found near Buffalo, South Dakota in 1987. Stan is named after his discoverer, amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison.
Stan's skeleton preserves several injuries, including broken and healed ribs.
In Stan’s neck, two vertebrae are fused together, and a third has extra bone growth, which suggest that Stan broke his neck and later it healed.
Also, on the back of Stan’s skull a circular hole more than one inch in diameter is just the right size to have been made by a T. rex tooth.
Fighting with other T. rex seems to have caused Stan’s injuries, but we know he survived them to fight another day. Indeed, we really do not know what eventually killed this tough old T. rex.
For more information about Stan, visit the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research website.