The Tyrannosaurus rex – the most fearsome dinosaur of them all – is taking center stage at a blockbuster new exhibition opening this week at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Typically viewed as fierce, scaly and always hungry, the exhibit is presenting the king of the cretaceous period in a brand new light.
"I think most dinosaur exhibits that people see are really based on just skeletons, but this is just like bringing these animals to life," said Mark Norell, one of the museum's curators.
"T. rex: The Ultimate Predator" introduces visitors to early tyrannosaurs, ancestors of the T. rex. The museum's T. rex skeleton has been reconfigured into a crouch and is now joined by a life-sized model of the apex predator topped with tufts of bristly hair.
Visitors will also see what a baby T. rex might have looked like – feathers and all.
While the subject is prehistoric, the exhibit is innovative with a multiplayer virtual reality experience and interactive displays. It's all meant to put the fearsome creature's power into context.
"These bite so hard that if you do experiments with it, if you take a two-by-four and you subject it to that much pressure, the tooth doesn't go through the two-by-four -- a two-by-four explodes into like toothpicks," Norell said.
The exhibit took two years to develop and much of what's on display is from research that is only 10 to 20 years old -- a blink of an eye compared to the 65 million years that have passed since T. rex ruled the Earth.
The exhibit opens to the public on March 11.