Trix, the T. rex
Trix is a Tyrannosaurus rex specimen excavated in 2013 in Montana, USA by a team of paleontologists from the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden in the Netherlands. It is the oldest known Tyrannosaurus specimen, with an age of more than thirty years, and has been considered the third most complete tyrannosaurus found, with between 75% to 80% of its bone volume recovered. The specimen was named Trix after the Dutch former Queen Beatrix and is the only Tyrannosaurus specimen on permanent exhibit in mainland Europe.
According to Peter Larson, director of the Black Hills Institute, Trix is the third most complete Tyrannosaurus found, after Sue and Stan. About half of the bones have been found. These represent between 75% and 80% of its bone volume. The main missing parts include the tip of the snout, the front lower jaws, at least seven vertebrae of the middle tail, the point of the tail, the right shoulder blade, the arms, the left hindlimb and the right foot. Parts never before discovered in a Tyrannosaurus fossil include a turbinal bone in the nasal cavity. A rare element present is the furcula and the stapes of the ear. There is some root damage from plant growth and some bones had been gnawed by scavengers. A smaller shed tooth was found, attributed to Nanotyrannus. Trix in 2016 was the most complete Tyrannosaurus specimen permanently exhibited outside of the USA. Tyrannosaurus skeletons part of the collection of the Natural History Museum, London, are more fragmentary.
For formal use, the BHI referred to the skeleton as the “Murray T. rex”. Because of her age, gender and face injuries, the tyrannosaurus was nicknamed “grandma pusface”. Naturalis preferred Grand Old Lady. Wim Pijbes, the director of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum, called the skeleton “the Nightwatch of Natural History”. She has also been called the “Mona Lisa of Naturalis”, because of her enigmatic smile. Both Larson and the museum concluded it was “the most beautiful tyrannosaurus of the world”. Naturalis decided that the skeleton needed an official name, as all main exemplars of Tyrannosaurus possess. In the press, it was speculated it would be called “Michelle” after its discoverer, as had happened with many specimens. Naturalis asked the Dutch public to suggest a name. On 23 June 2016 it was announced that the name overwhelmingly chosen was “Trix”, as both an allusion to “T-rex” and former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Trix thus became known as the “Queen of the Cretaceous”.
T. rex in Town is a temporary exhibit from September 10, 2016 to June 5, 2017 in the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden, The Netherlands.