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Rigby's rex (wasRe: the biggest predators)



On Sun, 14 Jan 2001 10:28:18  
 Steven Coombs wrote:
>I heard that Rigby's T.rex is suppose to be a new
>species of Tyrannosaur. 

Rigby's Tyrannosaur, in my opinion, is the most enigmatic specimen and 
situation in paleontology today.  

I still remember the first news article about the find, stating that it was 
larger than Sue and possibly a new species.  However, Rigby has been almost 
closed to the media, and there is still a legal problem.  I did get the chance 
to interview him in 1999...and looking back on it, I wish I did a better job.  
Anyway, he did talk A LOT about the T. rex in our interview, and this is what I 
have in my notes that may be of some importance:

*The specimen is under lock and key in Montana, and Rigby planned to work some 
more on it in the summer of 1999.  I haven't heard anything about any more work 
on the specimen, though.

*Rigby accuses the owners of the land for all of the legal troubles.  He says 
that the two owners started to brew the controversy after they got themselves 
over $4 million in debt.  Apparently, their parents (now deceased) deeded the 
land on which the rex was found to the federal government 10 years ago.  
However, the children "kept" the land (I don't know how), let Rigby and his 
Earthwatch team dig there, got themselves into a whole bunch of debt, and 
fearing prosecution, told the federal government about the specimen and the 
entire land situation.  Again, this is just from my notes, taken over a year 
and a half ago, and I wasn't all to familiar with the legal situation in the 
first place.  

*Rigby says he has piles of T. rex bone, not all articulate, including parts of 
a skull, which was discovered disassociated in a 10 square foot area of rock.  
The skull size is apparently average, but the pubes are incredibly large for a 
T. rex (he says 52 inches...and that does seem large).  He also says that four 
pubes were found, indicating two different individuals.  

*He told me word for word that "it's beginning to look like these (other bones) 
belong to a second animal...is it the largest T. rex?  Maybe.  Most of our 
bones are coming from an average (size) T. rex, and the pubis may or may not 
belong.  If it does belong, it raises questions, questions about body 
proportions.  It is still possible that (it) was an average T. rex with big 
hips.  I also wouldn't bet that there is another meat eater.

So, he didn't really discuss anything about a new species...

I do recall that there was an article about this find in Notre Dame's alumni 
magazine.  I don't have the article, but if anyone is interested, I recommend 
trying to dig it up.  

I doubt that much will come to fruitation with this situation in the near 
future.

Steve

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Steve Brusatte-DINO LAND PALEONTOLOGY
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