The king of the dinosaurs took 20 years to reach its full potential. As the T. rex grew from a hatchling to a full adult, it gained a whopping 9 to 10 tons.
According to a study published today in the journal Science Advances, a T. rex grew so much and so quickly during its teenage years that even its speed and preferred prey changed.
Between ages 14 and 18, a juvenile rex changed from a slender, quick-footed, feather-clad terror that could out-sprint its prey to a massive hunter that simply walked up to a meal and chomped down hard.
“Smaller juvenile T. rex likely had different feeding strategies and behaviors from large adult T. rex, which means that the younger individuals were likely not competing for the same resources as the older and larger T. rex,” Holly Woodward, the lead author of the new study, told Business Insider.
According to Scott Williams a co-author of the study, this discovery “tells us these animals probably dominated their ecosystems at all ages.”
Here’s what paleontologists have learned about how this predator grew and developed.