Welcome to Dinosaur Goredom!

The Bite copy 2

I was familiar with a specimen of Tyrannosaurus rex named “Wyrex”  for a long time. Dr. Bob Bakker sent me a few pictures of Wyrex pebbly skin… but nothing else. We were at that time discussing the possibility of T. rex feathers. For me the fragment of the pebbly skin of Wyrex looked almost subcutaneous … but that is not the issue I’m addressing in this post. When I finally saw the mounted skeleton of Wyrex, it left me dumbfounded. I was impressed beyond anything that I have seen since the reconstruction of Deinocheirus:  more than half of the tail was bitten off by another T. rexand Wyrex survived the attack! It’s a horrifying sight indeed… and the simple thought of how that animal not only survived it but managed to balance a heavily unbalanced body got my mind reeling for a long time.  Indeed the worst enemy of T. rex in his environment was… T. rex!

For me the most problematic part of the fossil is the mechanical… how this animal healed such massive stump and could have walked? Was it protected and fed by a group of tyrannosaurs? The trail represents such important device for attaching leg muscles and balancing a horizontal body with a massive head! How the famous “shark on stilts” would have managed?… these seem mere academic questions: it did survive!

 It was time to illustrate it. As pathologies go this must be the most spectacular. Right at this moment I’m working in a project that is taking all my time and that will be the delight of so many dino-gore fans. And unlike empty, phoney dinosaur battles  in the movies, I am going to show  blood, guts and  and harm  in excruciating  detail! … well, more or less! In the next months I will be showing some other material … and I have noticed the wincing of horror in the face of some that have seen some of the pictures… after all we hate seeing our favourite dinosaurs being harmed don’t we? Or perhaps… not?

About luisvrey

Paleo Illustration
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6 Responses to Welcome to Dinosaur Goredom!

  1. Antonio Dias says:

    Great post!

    Great illustration!
    I see you’ve chosen the moment just before the tail was severed. At that point the creature could still stand like a Tyrannosaur.

    But I can’t see how the skeleton as mounted could possibly stay upright. There is too much weight forward. No amount of muscle strength and determination would balance the creature in this posture. It must have had to stand up straighter or topple. How else could it have kept its chin off the ground?

    • luisvrey says:

      Indeed you are right… how is it possible? The only solution I can think of is to adopt an unnatural erect posture (a bit like the old reconstructions of T. rex)… but not even that is clear to me. Maybe he had to be fed afterwards… couldn’t raise from the ground!

      • Antonio Dias says:

        Are we assuming survival from scarring at the point of the wound? Is there any way of telling how long the animal survived? It seems that if it lived more than a few weeks there would be signs on the chin and jaw and maybe deformities in the forelimbs to suggest it could not rise to its feet? Is any of this within the scope of what can be studied?

        If it did survive a considerable period of time without changes to the jaw and forelimbs it seems it must have stood up.

        There are surprising cases of animal altruism and looking out for one another. How about a buddy acting as a support? Like a crutch?!

        A very interesting case!

  2. Eagerly waiting for “Dinosaur Pathologies”.
    Question: do we know, how the attack went down? Can we determine from which side it happened (your artwork shows it happening from the left side)?

  3. I’m gathering info for my own illustration on the subject. How much do we know about this Wyrex incident? For example, both you and NatGeo documentary depict the tail-severing attack coming from the animal’s left side, do we know this or is it just artistic coincidence?

    • luisvrey says:

      It is definitively artistic coincidence… moreover this might be proven wrong one day. It seems that the fossil might have been misinterpreted and the injury did not happen. More evidence and interpretations are needed. In the meantime, it is a plausible scenario.

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