No. 19.—Tyrannosaurus rex.
THE WELL-KNOWN Tyrannosaurus rex was a large and powerful dinosaur of the Cretaceous period, the last of the three ages of the Mesozoic Era or Age of Dinosaurs.
The name “Tyrannosaurus rex” is a Greco-Latin hybrid meaning “king tyrant lizard,” but—as with most of the dinosaurs—our impressions of this creature have been considerably revised since it was named. The Tyrannosaurus was, we know now, neither a king nor a tyrant, nor for that matter a lizard. Only the ingrained taxonomical conservatism of paleontologists prevents them from coming up with a more descriptive name for it.
Modern paleontologists believe that the Tyrannosaurus spent most of its waking hours gathering wild flowers by streams of flowing water. Flowers first evolved during the Cretaceous period, and the Tyrannosaurus’ bipedal posture and small forelimbs perfectly adapted it to carrying baskets of colorful blooms, which it would then present to a potential mate. These bouquets alone, however, were not enough to ensure success. The Tyrannosaurus had therefore evolved a bright and exceedingly toothy smile, with which to charm its beloved and disarm her resistance.
The diet of Tyrannosaurus consisted mostly of small heart-shaped candies with two-word slogans printed on them. It supplemented these with expensive chocolates when it could get them.
Allegorically, the Tyrannosaurus represents unrequited love.