One of the most terrifying dreams that race through the fertile minds of young boys is the remote possibility of a prehistoric Tyrannosaurus rex launching itself from behind the high brush and ferociously pursuing him, its huge, razor-like teeth bared and menacing, mere inches from the fleeing youth. Motion pictures have convincingly brought this fear to life, from the early King Kong struggle in the dark, foreboding jungles to the convincing Jurassic Park series spawned by Michael Crichton and Steven Speilberg. However, the true reality of the existence of these enormous creatures that ruled the earth is best experienced through holding and studying an authentic relic from that far distant time of the dinosaur. It is the tooth of the T. rex that best expresses this primal burst of imagination and fits well into a small wunderkammer.


The Tyrannosaurus rex (Latin for tyrannical lizard king) lived between 62~65 million years ago in the area ranging from present day Saskatchewan, Canada south to New Mexico. As an adult, this bipedal carnivore was one of the largest ever to exist, standing 40 feet, nose to tail, and weighing around five tons. They usually lived to the ripe old age of approximately 30 years, barring injury, though most fossilized examples found died much earlier. Its massive head held 60 banana-shaped teeth that were serrated on two sides to accommodate the tearing of flesh from its victims or from scavenged remains. Occasionally, feeding resulted in breaking a tooth, which was replaced fairly quickly. These loose shed teeth, numbering perhaps 200, along with some 30 incomplete T. rex specimens exhumed thus far make up the paleontological record of this intriguing species.  
 
Tyrannosaurus rex
     
This shed tooth example is in exceptional though somewhat weathered condition and was found buried within the sandstone fields of Hell Creek Formation in North Dakota. Its length from the break to the intact tip along the outer edge is 2½ inches. Some of its surface enamel is cracked but unbroken, resulting from the enormous pressure from soil and rock under which it rested for millions of years. The surfaces are mottled and attractive, its flat tan coloration from weathering over time. The serrations along the sides of the tooth are virtually complete. There is an indentation near the top of one side which was caused by the tooth growing closely beside another tooth, indicating the dental structure didn't form evenly throughout the mouth.  

 
T. rex Shed Tooth
     
 

     
Tyrannosaurus Rex Shed Tooth
Date: 65 MYA
Location: Hell Creek Formation, North Dakota
Dimensions: 2.5 in
Provenance: Richard Kosta, Inc.

T. rex shed teeth vary in price based on condition and size. Broken and repaired teeth will oviously command lower prices than perfect examples, of which there are very few. For generally intact specimens, one can expect to pay approximately $1,000 per inch to the 3" mark, where rarity of size at and above that level brings significantly more. Measurements are made along the front curve of the tooth.

   

References: The Complete Dinosaur - Farlow - 1997

 
         
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