Tyrannosaur Dinosaur Pictures and Profiles

01
of 29

These Tyrannosaurs Were the Apex Predators of the Mesozoic Era

raptorex
Raptorex. Wikispaces

Tyrannosaurs were far and away the largest, most dangerous meat-eating dinosaurs of Cretaceous North America and Eurasia. On the following slides, you'll find pictures and profiles of over 25 tyrannosaurs, ranging from A (Albertosaurus) to Z (Zhuchengtyrannus).

02
of 29

Albertosaurus

albertosaurus
Albertosaurus. Royal Tyrrell Museum

There's some tantalizing evidence that the three-ton tyrannosaur Albertosaurus may have hunted in packs, which means that not even the largest plant-eating dinosaurs of late Cretaceous North America would have been safe from predation. See 10 Facts About Albertosaurus

03
of 29

Alectrosaurus

alectrosaurus
Alectrosaurus. Sergey Krasovskiy

Name:

Alectrosaurus (Greek for "unmarried lizard"); pronounced ah-LEC-tro-SORE-us

Habitat:

Woodlands of Asia

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (80-75 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 17 feet long; weight unknown

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Thick head with sharp teeth; bipedal posture; stunted arms

 

When they were first discovered (on a 1923 expedition to China by paleontologists from New York's American Museum of Natural History), the fossil specimens of Alectrosaurus were mixed up with those of another type of dinosaur, a segnosaur (a type of therizinosaur), occasioning much confusion. After this mix-up was finally sorted out, the team announced that it had discovered a previously unknown genus of tyrannosaur--at that time, the first ever unearthed in Asia. (Before then, tyrannosaurs, including Albertosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex, had been identified only in North America.)

To date, paleontologists have had little luck figuring out Alectrosaurus' exact position on the tyrannosaur family tree, a situation that can only be improved by further fossil discoveries.(One theory is that Alectrosaurus was actually a far-flung species of Albertosaurus, but not everyone subscribes to this idea.) We do know that Alectrosaurus shared its territory with Gigantoraptor, and that both of these theropods subsisted on duck-billed dinosaurs like Bactrosaurus; one recent analysis also posits Xiangguanlong as the tyrannosaur most closely related to Alectrosaurus.

04
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Alioramus

alioramus
Alioramus. Julio Lacerda

Recent analysis has shown that the late Cretaceous tyrannosaur Alioramus sported eight horns on its skull, each about five inches long, the purpose of which is still a mystery (though they were most likely a sexually selected characteristic). See an in-depth profile of Alioramus

05
of 29

Appalachiosaurus

appalachiosaurus
Appalachiosaurus. McClane Science Center

Name:

Appalachiosaurus (Greek for "Appalachia lizard"); pronounced ah-pah-LAY-chee-oh-SORE-us

Habitat:

Swamps of North America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (75 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 25 feet long and two tons

Diet:

Herbivorous dinosaurs

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Narrow snout with six crests; stunted arms

 

It's not often that dinosaurs are dug up in the southeastern U.S., so the discovery in 2005 of Appalachiosaurus was big news. The fossil, believed to be of a juvenile, measured about 23 feet long, and the dinosaur that left it probably weighed a bit less than a ton. Abstracting from other tyrannosaurs, paleontologists believe a full-grown Appalachiosaurus might have measured about 25 feet from head to tail and weighed two tons.

Weirdly, Appalachiosaurus shares a distinctive feature--a series of ridges on its snout--with an Asian tyrannosaur, Alioramus. However, experts believe Appalachiosaurus is most closely related to another North American predator, the even larger Albertosaurus. (By the way, the type specimen of Appalachiosaurus, as well as one of Albertosaurus, bears evidence of Deinosuchus bite marks--indicating that this Cretaceous crocodile occasionally tried to take down big dinosaurs, or at least scavenged their corpses.)

06
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Aublysodon

aublysodon
Aublysodon. Getty Images

Name:

Aublysodon (Greek for "backward-flowing tooth"); pronounced OW-blih-SO-don

Habitat:

Woodlands of North America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (70-65 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 15 feet long and 500-1,000 pounds

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Medium size; tyrannosaur-like body

 

If Aublysodon were being examined today, the diagnostic material representing this dinosaur (a single fossilized tooth) probably wouldn't be widely accepted by the paleontological community. However, this presumed tyrannosaur was discovered and named way back in 1868, when accepted practices were much less strict, by the famous paleontologist Joseph Leidy (best known for his association with Hadrosaurus). As you can guess, Aublysodon may or may not merit its own genus; most paleontologists think this was a species of an existing genus of tyrannosaur, or possibly a juvenile (considering that it only measured about 15 feet long from head to tail).

07
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Aviatyrannis

aviatyrannis
Aviatyrannis. Eduardo Camarga

Name:

Aviatyrannis (Greek for "grandmother tyrant"); pronounced AY-vee-ah-tih-RAN-iss

Habitat:

Woodlands of western Europe

Historical Period:

Late Jurassic (155-150 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About three feet long and 10 pounds

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; bipedal posture

 

Way back toward the end of the Jurassic period, about 150 million years ago, tyrannosaurs tended to be small, slender, lightweight predators, not the five-ton monsters that dominated the late Cretaceous. Not all paleontologists agree, but Aviatyrannis ("grandmother tyrant") seems to have been one of the first true tyrannosaurs, preceded only by the Asian Guanlong and very similar (and perhaps identical) to the North American Stokesosaurus. Pending more fossil evidence, we may never known if Aviatyrannis deserves its own genus or was actually a species (or specimen) of this latter dinosaur.

08
of 29

Bagaraatan

bagaraatan
Bagaraatan. Eduardo Camarga

Name:

Bagaraatan (Mongolian for "small hunter"); pronounced BAH-gah-rah-TAHN

Habitat:

Woodlands of central Asia

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (70-65 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 10 feet long and 500 pounds

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Bipedal posture; possibly feathers

 

The late Cretaceous period witnessed a perplexing array of small theropod dinosaurs, including raptors, tyrannosaurs and feathered "dino-birds," the precise evolutionary relationships of which paleontologists are still trying to puzzle out. Based on the fragmentary remains of a single juvenile, unearthed in Mongolia, at least one influential researcher has classified Bagaraatan as a pint-sized tyrannosaur, which would be fairly unusual--other experts insist this smallish predator was more closely related to the non-tyrannosaur theropod Troodon. As with so many other obscure dinosaurs, the definitive answer to the mystery awaits further fossil discoveries.

09
of 29

Bistahieversor

bistahieversor
Bistahieversor. Nobu Tamura

Name:

Bistahieversor (Navajo/Greek for "Bistahi destroyer"); pronounced bis-TAH-hee-eh-ver-sore

Habitat:

Woodlands of southern North America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (75 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 30 feet long and 1-2 tons

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Oddly shaped skull; 64 teeth in mouth

 

Bistahieversor must have been standing behind the door when all the good (and pronounceable) dinosaur names were being given out, but this late Cretaceous tyrannosaur (the first to be discovered in North America in over three decades) still ranks as an important find. The odd thing about this mid-sized, one-ton meat-eater is that it had even more teeth than its famous cousin, Tyrannosaurus Rex, 64 compared to 54, as well as some strange skeletal features (such as an opening in the skull above each eye) that are still being puzzled over by experts.

10
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Daspletosaurus

daspletosaurus
Daspletosaurus. Wikimedia Commons

Daspletosaurus was a mid-sized tyrannosaur of late Cretaceous North America, much smaller than Tyrannosaurus Rex but no less dangerous to the smaller animals of its ecosystem. Its name sounds better in translation: "frightful lizard." See an in-depth profile of Daspletosaurus

11
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Deinodon

deinodon
Deinodon. public domain

Name

Deinodon (Greek for "terrible tooth"); pronounced DIE-no-don

Habitat

Woodlands of North America

Historical Period

Late Cretaceous (75-65 million years ago)

Size and Weight

Undisclosed

Diet

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics

Sharp teeth; massive jaws

 

For a dinosaur that's virtually unknown today, Deinodon was on the lips of every paleontologist of 19th century America, as witness the fact that no less than 20 separate species were once assigned to this now-dubious genus. The name Deinodon was coined by Joseph Leidy, based on a set of fossilized teeth belonging to a late Cretaceous tyrannosaur (the first dinosaur of its kind to be identified). Today, it's believed that these teeth actually belonged to Aublysodon, and other Deinodon species have since been reassigned to their rightful owners, including Gorgosaurus, Albertosaurus and Tarbosaurus. The possibility remains that the name Deinodon may still have precedence for at least one of these dinosaurs, so don't be surprised if that's what we eventually wind up using for (most probably) Aublysodon.

12
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Dilong

dilong
Dilong. Wikimedia Commons

Name:

Dilong (Chinese for "emperor dragon"); pronounced DIE-long

Habitat:

Plains of Asia

Historical Period:

Early Cretaceous (130 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 5 feet long and 25 pounds

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; primitive feathers

 

Discovered in 2004 in China, Dilong caused quite a stir: this bipedal theropod was clearly a type of tyrannosaur, yet it lived 130 million years ago, tens of millions of years before bigger (and more famous) tyrannosaurs like Tyrannosaurus Rex and Albertosaurus. Even more astonishingly, there's good evidence that the small, turkey-sized Dilong was covered with primitive, hair-like feathers.

What do paleontologists make of all this? Some experts think Dilong's bird-like attributes--namely its small size, feathers and carnivorous diet--point to a warm-blooded metabolism similar to that of modern birds. If Dilong was indeed warm-blooded, that would be powerful evidence that at least some other dinosaurs had similar metabolisms. And at least one expert has surmised that all juvenile tyrannosaurs (not just Dilong) may have had feathers, which most genera shed on reaching adulthood!

13
of 29

Dryptosaurus

dryptosaurus
Dryptosaurus. Wikimedia Commons

Name:

Dryptosaurus (Greek for "tearing lizard"); pronounced DRIP-toe-SORE-us

Habitat:

Woodlands of North America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (75-70 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 20 feet long and one ton

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large size; relatively long arms for a tyrannosaur

 

Tyrannosaurus Rex gets all the press, but the tyrannosaur Dryptosaurus was actually discovered years before its more famous cousin, by the famous American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope in 1866 (Cope originally named this new genus Laelaps, and then decided on Dryptosaurus after it turned out the first name had already been taken, or "preoccupied," by another prehistoric creature). Dryptosaurus wasn't recognized as an early tyrannosaur until years later, when its similarity to Appalachiosaurus, another relatively primitive tyrannosaur discovered in modern-day Alabama, sealed the deal.

Considering how obscure it is today, Dryptosaurus had an outsized impact on the popular culture of its time, at least until T. Rex came along and stole its thunder. A famous painting by the nature illustrator Charles R. Knight, "Leaping Laelaps," is one of the earliest reconstructions of a lithe, actively hunting meat-eating dinosaur (rather than the plodding, dimwitted creatures of previous depictions). Today, a major effort is under way to get Dryptosaurus properly recognized by the New Jersey legislature; discovered in New Jersey, Dryptosaurus is the second-most-popular dinosaur to hail from the Garden State, after Hadrosaurus.

14
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Eotyrannus

eotyrannus
Eotyrannus. Wikimedia Commons

Eotyrannus was so slender and lithe, with long arms and grasping hands, that to the untrained eye it looks more like a raptor than a tyrannosaur (the giveaway to its identity is the lack of single, giant, curved claws on each of its hind feet). See an in-depth profile of Eotyrannus

15
of 29

Gorgosaurus

gorgosaurus
Gorgosaurus. Sergey Krasovskiy

Gorgosaurus is one of the best-represented tyrannosaurs in the fossil record, with numerous specimens discovered across North America; still, some paleontologists believe this dinosaur should be classified as a species of Albertosaurus. See an in-depth profile of Gorgosaurus

16
of 29

Guanlong

guanlong
Guanlong. Wikimedia Commons

One of the few tyrannosaurs to date from the late Jurassic period, Guanlong was only about a quarter the size of Tyrannosaurus Rex, and was probably covered in feathers. It also had a bizarre crest on its snout, most likely a sexually selected characteristic. See an in-depth profile of Guanlong

17
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Juratyrant

juratyrant
Juratyrant. Nobu Tamura

Name:

Juratyrant (Greek for "Jurassic tyrant"); pronounced JOOR-ah-tie-rant

Habitat:

Woodlands of England

Historical Period:

Late Jurassic (150 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 10 feet long and 500 pounds

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Moderate size; long, narrow skull

 

Until recently, England had little to boast about in the way of tyrannosaurs, which are more often associated with North America and Asia. In early 2012, though, a fossil specimen once assigned as a species of Stokesosaurus (a plain-vanilla English theropod) was identified as a genuine tyrannosaur and placed in its own genus. Juratyrant, as this dinosaur is now known, wasn't nearly as big or as fierce as Tyrannosaurus Rex, which appeared on the scene tens of millions of years later, but it must still have been a terror to the smaller wildlife of late Jurassic England.

18
of 29

Kileskus

kileskus
Kileskus. Sergey Krasovskiy

Name:

Kileskus (indigenous for "lizard"); pronounced kie-LESS-kuss

Habitat:

Woodlands of central Asia

Historical Period:

Middle Jurassic (175 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About nine feet long and 300-400 pounds

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Bipedal posture; possibly feathers

 

Kileskus is a case study in the subtleties of theropod paleontology: technically, this middle Jurassic dinosaur is classified as a "tyrannosauroid" rather than a "tyrannosaurid," which means it almost, but didn't quite, belong to the exact same evolutionary line that went on to spawn monsters like Tyrannosaurus Rex. (In fact, Kileskus' closest relative seems to have been Proceratosaurus, which isn't recognized by most amateurs as a true tyrannosaur, though paleontologists might disagree.) However you choose to describe it, the (possibly feathered) Kileskus was clearly near the top of the food chain in its central Asian habitat, even if it was decidedly shrimpy compared to later tyrannosaurs.

19
of 29

Lythronax

lythronax
Lythronax. Lukas Panzarin

The fossil remains of Lythronax date from 80 million years ago, meaning that this meat-eater is an important "missing link"--after the ancestral tyrannosaurs of the late Jurassic period, but before the giant tyrannosaurs that were wiped out in the K/T Extinction. See an in-depth profile of Lythronax

20
of 29

Nanotyrannus

nanotyrannus
Nanotyrannus. Burpee Museum of Natural History

Nanotyrannus ("tiny tyrant") is one of those tyrannosaurs that lurks on the fringes of paleontology: many experts in the field believe that it was probably a juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex, and thus undeserving of its genus appellation. See an in-depth profile of Nanotyrannus

21
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Nanuqsaurus

nanuqsaurus
Nanuqsaurus. Nobu Tamura

Name

Nanuqsaurus (indigenous/Greek for "polar lizard"); pronounced NAH-nook-SORE-us

Habitat

Plains of northern Alaska

Historical Period

Late Cretaceous (70 million years ago)

Size and Weight

Undisclosed

Diet

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics

Moderate size; bipedal posture; possibly feathers

 

If you're of a certain (very advanced) age, you may remember a classic silent movie called Nanook of the North. Well, there's a new Nanook on the scene, though this one is spelled more respectfully (nanuq, in the Ilupiat language, means "polar") and lived about 70 million years ago. The remains of Nanuqsaurus were discovered in northern Alaska in 2006, but it took a few years for them to be properly identified as belonging to a new genus of tyrannosaur, and not a species of Albertosaurus or Gorgosaurus. As far north as it dwelled, Nanuqsaurus didn't have to endure frigid arctic conditions (the world was a lot more temperate during the late Cretaceous period), but it's still possible that this Tyrannosaurus Rex relative was covered with feathers to help insulate itself from the cold.

22
of 29

Qianzhousaurus

qianzhousaurus
Qianzhousaurus. Chuang Zhao

Name

Qianzhousaurus (after the Chinese city of Ganzhou); pronounced shee-AHN-zhoo-SORE-us

Habitat

Woodlands of Asia

Historical Period

Late Cretaceous (70-65 million years ago)

Size and Weight

Undisclosed

Diet

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics

Unusually long snout with sharp, narrow teeth

 

Until the recent discovery of Qianzhousaurus, near the Chinese city of Ganzhou, the only known theropods possessing unusually long snouts were the spinosaurs--typified by the fish-eating Spinosaurus and Baryonyx. What makes the long-snouted Qianzhousaurus important is that it was technically a tyrannosaur, and so different in appearance from others of its kind that it has already been dubbed Pinocchio Rex. Paleontologists don't yet understand why Qianzhousaurus had such an elongated skull--it may have been an adaptation to this dinosaur's diet, or even, possibly, a sexually selected characteristic (meaning males with longer snouts had the opportunity to mate with more females).

23
of 29

Raptorex

raptorex
Raptorex. Wikispaces

Surprisingly for such a petite dinosaur, the impressively named Raptorex sported the basic body plan of later, bigger tyrannosaurs, including an oversized head, stunted forearms, and powerful, muscled legs. See an in-depth profile of Raptorex

24
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Tarbosaurus

tarbosaurus
Tarbosaurus. Wikimedia Commons

The five-ton Tarbosaurus was the apex predator of late Cretaceous Asia; some paleontologists believe that it should properly be classified as a species of Tyrannosaurus, or even that T. Rex should properly be classified as a species of Tarbosaurus! See an in-depth profile of Tarbosaurus

25
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Teratophoneus

teratophoneus
Teratophoneus. Nobu Tamura

Name:

Teratophoneus (Greek for "monstrous murderer"); pronounced teh-RAT-oh-FOE-nee-us

Habitat:

Woodlands of North America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (75 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 20 feet long and one ton

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Moderate size; relatively blunt snout

 

If you're of a classical bent, you'll probably be impressed by the name Teratophoneus, which is Greek for "monstrous murderer." The fact is, though, that this newly discovered tyrannosaur wasn't all that big compared to other members of its breed, only weighing in the neighborhood of a single ton (a fraction of the size of its North American relative Tyrannosaurus Rex). The importance of Teratophoneus is that (like its fellow tyrannosaur Bistahieversor) it lived in the southwestern rather than the north-central U.S., and may have represented an evolutionary offshoot of the tyrannosaur family, as evidenced by its unusually blunt skull.

26
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Tyrannosaurus Rex

Tyrannosaurus Rex
Tyrannosaurus Rex. Getty Images

Tyrannosaurus Rex was one of the largest predators of all time, adults weighing in the neighborhood of eight or nine tons. It's now believed that female T. Rex were heavier than males, and may have been the more active (and vicious) hunters. See 10 Facts About Tyrannosaurus Rex

27
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Xiongguanlong

xiongguanlong
Xiongguanlong. Vladimir Nikolov

Name:

Xiongguanlong (Chinese for "Xiongguan dragon"); pronounced shyoong-GWAHN-loong

Habitat:

Woodlands of eastern Asia

Historical Period:

Early Cretaceous (120 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 12 feet long and 500 pounds

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; bipedal posture; long, narrow snout

 

Not the most pronounceable of predators (though you have to admire any dinosaur name that begins with an "x"), Xiongguanlong was a very early tyrannosaur, a relatively petite (only about 500 pounds) meat eater of the early Cretaceous period whose basic anatomy foreshadowed the giant tyrannosaurs that evolved tens of millions of years later in Asia and North America, such as Tarbosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex. Notably, Xiongguanlong's head was unusually narrow, compared to the massive, blunt noggins of its bigger relatives 50 million years down the line.

28
of 29

Yutyrannus

yutyrannus
Yutyrannus. Brian Choo

Not only was the early Cretaceous Yutyrannus covered with feathers, but it weighed between one and two tons, making it one of the largest feathered dinosaurs yet identified (though it was still significantly smaller than some other tyrannosaurs). See an in-depth profile of Yutyrannus

29
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Zhuchengtyrannus

zhuchengtyrannus
Zhuchengtyrannus. Bob Nicholls

Name:

Zhuchengtyrannus (Greek for "Zhucheng tyrant"); pronounced ZHOO-cheng-tih-RAN-us

Habitat:

Woodlands of Asia

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (75-65 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 35 feet long and 6-7 tons

Diet:

Meat

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large size; small arms; numerous sharp teeth

 

It seems that every new carnivorous dinosaur winds up being compared at some point to Tyrannosaurus Rex, but in the case of Zhuchengtyrannus, that exercise actually makes sense: this newly discovered Asian predator was every bit T. Rex's equal, measuring about 35 feet from head to tail and weighing in the neighborhood of 6 to 7 tons. Diagnosed from its fossilized skull by the paleontologist David Hone, Zhuchengtyrannus is one of the largest members of the Asian branch of tyrannosaurs, other examples of the breed including Tarbosaurus and Alioramus. (For some reason, the tyrannosaurs of the late Cretaceous period were restricted to North America and Eurasia, though there's disputed evidence for an Australian genus.) By the way, Zhuchengtyrannus was an entirely different beast from Zhuchengosaurus, a plus-sized hadrosaur discovered in the same area of China.