Meet Stan. Stan is a Tyrannosaurs Rex and is approximately 65 million years old and although he is now a pile of bones reconstructed into what can technically be called a statue, he was once the most terrifying predator who roamed the earth.
Now, he lives at the Manchester Museum and is the first thing you see as you walk through the door and he certainly instils a sense of awe. It is safe to say he is the star of the museum and doesn’t he know it.
Stan is the second most complete specimen of a T-Rex in the world, second only to Sue who lives at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago who is better preserved, but without the rugid Mancucian charm Stan has since adopted.
This specimen was excavated in South Dakota in 1922 and was brought over by a team of scientists from Manchester University. Here it was studied in detail, where the fossil was closely examined in an attempt to get to the bottom of the relationship between dinosaurs and birds. This is an area of research which continues at the University today.
When Stan arrived in the UK he was in 198 different pieces with some missing. The first challenge for the team was to put him together in a huge 3D jigsaw puzzle that is 40ft long and weighs three tonnes. Oh yes, and it was probably more fragile than a moth made out of smoke- not a simple task in the slightest. I wish I could have offered them the service of my Nanna, she is sick at jigsaws and I reckon she could have had it done in like twenty minutes if we left her to it with a bag of liquorish all-sorts.
Anyway, they got it done eventually, and when he was fully erected they learnt that he had a broken neck that was most likely from a fight with other T-Rex and was probably his cause of death. How’s that for a bit of Paleo-pathology?
He is posed as if he was running flat out, with his tiny arms in front of him as if he were in pursuit of prey. Although he was once a dominating, imposing predator that could easily tear down anything in his path, Stan now lives in fear of a sticky-fingered kid ignoring the ‘please do not touch’ sign and turning him into a pile of bones. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
You can see Stan for free at The Manchester Museum which is open 10 am – 5 pm daily.
Manchester Museum, The University Of Manchester, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PL