Canada is a hotbed of fossil finds and many Canadian palaeontologists are at the forefront of new research that is changing the way we view ancient life. The depiction on your coin features the archetypal dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex as it likely appeared in its time (68-66 million years ago); but it too has been the catalyst of new discoveries, and the subject of much debate. Did it have a coat of proto-feathers? Was it a fast-moving hunter? How strong was its sense of smell? Did it move as a pack? Was it a scavenger or a predator, and could it have resorted to cannibalism? These are the questions that reflect the ever-changing nature of palaeontology, as new clues are continuously unlocked with each discovery of these fossilized fragments of history!
DESIGN: Designed by Julius Csotonyi, your coin offers you a rare close encounter with one of the most fearsome predators of the Late Cretaceous Period, some 68-66 million years ago. This depiction of Tyrannosaurus rex is based on current scientific knowledge, and has been reviewed for accuracy by palaeontologists of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta. The three-quarter view allows for the careful study of T. rex’s famous facial features, including the serrated teeth that line its powerful, bone-crunching jaw; but a closer examination reveals an astounding depth to every engraved detail—especially the meticulously sculpted scales that give the skin a reptile-like texture. The viewer’s gaze is easily drawn towards the coloured enamel eye, whose brown-hued iris and round pupil add a splash of life-like colour and intimidating intensity to this ancient carnivore’s chilling stare. The obverse features the effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by Susanna Blunt.
DID YOU KNOW… Measuring up to six metres in height and 12 metres in length, the bus-sized Tyrannosaurus rex is the largest tyrannosaurid dinosaur to have ever lived! This group includes the smaller-sized Albertosaurus, which was named for the province in which its fossils were first found.
We think of tyrannosaurs as towering apex predators that dominated their ecosystem—and that’s certainly how T. rex has been popularly portrayed! But earlier tyrannosaurs were much smaller and more widespread than their Late Cretaceous relatives. One of T. rex’s oldest known ancestor is thought to be Proceratosaurus, which lived during the Middle Jurassic Period and was likely just three metres long.
Surprisingly, a few other species are known to have a larger-sized skull than T. rex, including Spinosaurus, Mapusaurus, Carcharodontosaurus, and the aptly named Giganotosaurus.
T. rex’s fearsome-looking teeth came in useful for gripping and tearing into its prey, but its jaw was far more lethal: based on computer models, it likely exerted a bone-crushing force equivalent to its 8,000-kilogram body crashing down on its prey!