A Rare & Real T.rex Makes A World First Debut At Auckland Museum

Published: Sat 2 Apr 2022 06:14 AM
From Friday 15 April Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum will be the first ever Museum in the world to display Peter the T. rex. Eleven metres long, nearly three metres high and displayed in its hunting position, this is one of a small number of almost complete fossil Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons in the world and the first real T. rex fossil ever to be exhibited in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Visitors can get up close and learn about some of the incredible anatomical features of one of the largest land predators of all time and find out how it lived and died. Free for all visitors, this will be the first time this rare and real specimen has ever been on display.
Key facts relating to this T. rex have been established by Dr David Burnham, Dr Bruce Rothschild and Dr John Nudds in a Scientific Report. Discovered in 2018 in Wyoming, USA Dr Burnham calculated the completeness of fossils of this T. rex using bone density, a technique pioneered by the Field Museum in Chicago, home to “Sue”, one of the most complete T. rex in the world.
“Peter the T. rex is 47% complete using the Field Museum methodology. We are fortunate in having a significant number of Peter’s largest bones, many of which are incredibly well-preserved,” says Dr David Burnham of the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, USA.
A 100% complete T. rex skeleton has never been found, and most dinosaur skeletons on display in exhibitions are casts of the fossilised bones.
Dr Nudds from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, at the University of Manchester, says, “Nearly all T. rex are brown. Peter is an incredibly rare and visually stunning obsidian black in colour. Only four black T. rex have ever been discovered; the other three are displayed in prestigious natural history museums around the world.”
Details in the scientific report reveal this T. rex was undoubtedly fed upon, and most likely killed, by another T. rex. There is severe damage to the leg bones (femur and tibia), which can only be due to the jaw mechanics of an animal with an incredible bite force. In the Late Cretaceous period, the most powerful bite belonged to a T. rex.
Dr Matt Rayner, Curator Land Vertebrates at Auckland Museum says “It’s exciting to be able to host one of the most complete T. rex skeletons in the world as it goes on show for the first time. A T. rex skeleton is an incredibly rare sight in New Zealand and one containing real fossils is even rarer.”
Over the period that the T. rex is in Tāmaki Makaurau, a series of exciting public programmes, both paid and free of charge, will ensure every visitor can engage more deeply and learn more. Events will include an immersive dinosaur performance that allows visitors to get up-close and personal with an amazing array of prehistoric creatures, a junior palaeontology programme, dinosaur themed birthday parties at the Museum and the free interactive educational programme Treasures and Tales: Dino Wars! and Fascinating Fossils (details to be announced).
Dr David Gaimster, Chief Executive at Auckland Museum, says “2022 and 2023 will see the Museum host a series of major international touring exhibitions dedicated to global prehistory and ancient civilisations, allowing New Zealanders to explore the world that came before us. We are delighted to bring these special experiences to Tāmaki Makaurau and Aotearoa and we will be announcing more details shortly.”
Peter the T. rex is an absolute must-see, this is an epic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come face to face with a real T. rex up-close and personal.
Free with Museum entry, Peter the T. rex comes to Tāmaki Makaurau from Friday 15 April 2022 and is on for a limited time until Sunday 4 September 2022.

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