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How to build a dinosaur

A fully intact T. rex has never been found, but building one is no problem.

Kimberly Mas is a senior producer at Vox video focused on science explainers.

When you walk into the fossil hall at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, you’re greeted by some magnificent structures. Animal skeletons of seemingly impossible sizes tower above you and take you back to a world vastly different from our own.

Growing up, this was always one of my favorite places to go. But it took years for me to realize that the displays contained more than just real fossils.

When paleontologists excavate a dinosaur, they rarely find the full thing. For example, take one of the most famous dino skeletons, the T. rex Sue. Paleontologists found around 90 percent of the dinosaur’s bones, making it the most complete specimen ever discovered. The fact that they uncovered so much of Sue is remarkable, but when you go to the exhibit, you don’t see 90 percent of a skeleton — you see the full thing.

So when scientists uncover just pieces of a prehistoric animal unlike anything we’ve ever seen, how do they fill in the blanks? Check out the video above to learn more.

American Museum of Natural History curator Mark Norell’s newest exhibit, T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator, is open until August 9, 2020, in New York City, and lays out some of the latest research on the apex predator.

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