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Ostrich Skeleton vs T-Rex: Are They Related?

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Scientists may or may not have discovered many similarities between an ostrich skeleton and a Tyrannosaurus rex, but are these studies true? How similar was the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex to that of a modern ostrich? If you've been wanting to learn more about the skeletal structure of Tyrannosaurus rex, you've come to the right place.

In this article, we discuss whether Tyrannosaurus rex was the ancient ancestor of the ostrich. We will also compare and contrast their skeletal structures to confirm whether the two organisms are related. Finally, we'll discuss whether Tyrannosaurus rex was closely related to other animals alive today. Let's get started now!

Comparing an Ostrich Skeleton to a Tyrannosaurus Rex

Ostrich skeleton vs Tyrannosaurus rex
While their shapes may look similar at first glance, the ostrich skeleton was only 6 to 9 feet tall, while the tyrannosaurus skeleton was 12 to 15 feet tall.

© AZ-Animals.com

ostrich skeleton Tyrannosaurus rex
size 6-9 feet tall; neck and legs make up most of its height 12-15 feet tall; body takes up most of its height
bone composition All hollow; less than 10% of its body weight Some are hollow; make up more than 20% of their body weight
limbs Small wings, 5-7 feet span; unable to fly. The legs are of unequal length and end in three pointed toes Arms and hands with tiny paws; pretty much useless considering the size of the average T-Rex. Longest legs with three toes compared to any other theropod's body size
the presence of feathers Yes, in the main part of the body, and some on their heads Possibly, but only in certain parts of the body
skull shape Very small, pyramidal or triangular in shape. Large eye sockets and mostly air-filled bones (filled with small holes) Huge skull with multiple openings in the bone to reduce weight, and some inflatable bones. Large eye sockets and narrow skull for better seeing

Key Differences Between Ostrich Skeleton and Tyrannosaurus Rex

Ostrich skeleton vs Tyrannosaurus rex
The bone structure of an ostrich is much lighter than that of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

©bruna-nature/Shutterstock.com

There are many differences between an ostrich skeleton and a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton. While their shapes may look similar at first glance, the ostrich skeleton was only 6 to 9 feet tall, while the tyrannosaurus skeleton was 12 to 15 feet tall. In addition, the bone structure of an ostrich is much lighter than that of a tyrannosaurus rex, even though the bones of both creatures are hollow.

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But that's just the beginning of the similarities and differences between these two creatures. Now let's move on to the comparison in more detail.

Ostrich Skeleton vs T-Rex: Dimensions

Ostrich skeleton vs Tyrannosaurus rex
The average height of a tyrannosaurus skeleton is 12 to 15 feet from the hip, while an ostrich is 6 to 9 feet, including their very long necks.

©Herschel Hoffmeyer/Shutterstock.com

One of the main differences between a T. rex skeleton and an ostrich skeleton has to be the sheer size of the T. rex. The ostrich is one of the largest flightless birds in the world, and the Tyrannosaurus rex was considerably larger in every way. For example, the average height of a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton is 12 to 15 feet from the hip, while an ostrich is 6 to 9 feet, including their very long necks.

Interestingly, the ostrich's height comes from its legs and neck, while the tyrannosaurus rex also had exceptionally long legs compared to its dinosaur family. However, the neck of Tyrannosaurus rex is not as long as that of ostriches, and the average size of Tyrannosaurus rex has a lot to do with the length of its tail, which ostriches do not have.

Ostrich Skeleton vs Tyrannosaurus Rex: Skeletal Components

Ostrich skeleton vs Tyrannosaurus rex
The skeleton of an ostrich accounted for less than 10% of its overall weight, while the skeleton of a tyrannosaurus rex accounted for at least 20% of its overall weight, if not more.

© Sergei25/Shutterstock.com

Scientists generally consider Tyrannosaurus rex to be the ancestors of modern birds because of their skeletal makeup. The bones of both ostriches and tyrannosaurs were hollow, at least to some extent. However, the ostrich had more hollow bones than the common T. rex. But how exactly did this affect the bone structure of Tyrannosaurus rex and ostrich?

Given that T. rex didn't have as many hollow bones as ostriches, this means that T. rex's bones were much heavier compared to the dinosaur's overall weight, while ostriches were not. In fact, ostrich's bones accounted for only a fraction of its overall weight. to 10%, while the bones of Tyrannosaurus rex accounted for at least 20% of its overall weight, or even more.

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Ostrich Skeleton vs T-Rex: Arms and Legs

Ostrich skeleton vs Tyrannosaurus rex
An ostrich's wingspan was only 5 to 7 feet wide, making the bird unable to fly, and T. rex's arms were basically useless compared to its size.

©Herschel Hoffmeyer/Shutterstock.com

Another reason T. rex is often compared to ostriches is that both had very small arms or wings compared to other creatures and other parts of their bodies. For example, an ostrich's wingspan was only 5 to 7 feet wide, making the bird unable to fly, and a Tyrannosaurus rex's arms were basically useless compared to its size.

However, it was the legs of these two creatures that gave scientists pause. Both ostriches and tyrannosaurus rex had very long legs that were able to propel both creatures forward at speeds of up to 40 mph. In fact, the stride of an ostrich has been studied alongside the likely stride of a Tyrannosaurus rex, and the two creatures share many similarities in how they walked and ran!

Ostrich Skeleton vs T-Rex: The Presence of Feathers

Ostrich skeleton vs Tyrannosaurus rex
Some research suggests that, yes, Tyrannosaurus rex did have partial feathers, but only on one part of its body, although ostriches may have more feathers.

©NileshShah/Shutterstock.com

You no doubt know that ostriches are covered in thick black and white feathers, but can the same be said of T. rex? This is another hotly debated fact in the scientific community, as paleontologists struggle to figure out whether T. rex actually had feathers. Some research suggests that, yes, Tyrannosaurus rex did have partial feathers, but only on one part of its body, although ostriches may have more feathers.

Ostrich Skeleton vs T-Rex: Skull Shape

Ostrich skeleton vs Tyrannosaurus rex
The ostrich's skull was triangular or more pyramid-shaped compared to the rectangular skull of Tyrannosaurus rex.

©Orla/Shutterstock.com

There are very few comparisons between the shape of the skull of a Tyrannosaurus rex and that of an ostrich. In addition to its powerful jaws and monstrous teeth, the ostrich's skull was triangular or more pyramidal compared to the oblong skull of a Tyrannosaurus rex. However, both creatures have very large holes in their skulls for their eyes. Both the Tyrannosaurus rex and the ostrich had the largest eyes of any other land creature!

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featured image

Common ostrich bird (Struthio camelus) overhead view closeup with nature background.

© muhd fuad abd rahim/Shutterstock.com


about the author

august croft


I am a non-binary freelance writer working full time in Oregon. A graduate of Southern Oregon University with a BA in Theater and a major in Creative Writing, I have an interest in a variety of topics, especially the history of the Pacific Northwest. When I'm not writing personally or professionally, you can find me camping on the Oregon coast with my high school sweetheart and Chihuahua mix, or in my family's kitchen, perfecting recipes in a gleaming cast-iron skillet.

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