What’s Worth Watching: A T. rex Dissection

T. Rex Autopsy
Stuart Freedman/National Geographic Channels
T. Rex Autopsy

T. rex Autopsy (Sunday, June 7, 9/8c) National Geographic Channel

Any grownup kid who loves dinosaurs and doesn’t mind a little-well, a lot of—gore should catch Nat Geo’s two-hour special T.rex Autopsy. Veterinary surgeon Luke Gamble wields a mean chainsaw as he gustily dissects a 40-foot, 65 million-year-old tyrannosaurus rex, from its 4-toed foot, through its two-chambered abdomen, to the most powerful 50-toothed jaw of any land animal. They’re looking for how it lived, how smart it was, how it died, and at what age. All that involves fun stuff like ripping out massive amounts of fat, rib-like bones, coils of intestines and a stomach teeming with partially digested worm-filled meat. “It clearly didn’t starve to death, ” one scientist waggishly jokes about the horror movie favorite that seems to have been a quite efficient mix of bird and croc.

Yeah, it’s clearly not a real T.rex. They haven’t found a completely preserved specimen, and who in hell would allow one to be chopped up anyways? But it’s apparently close enough, with special effects wizards recreating the prehistoric monster using the latest scientific knowledge and lots of disgusting blood and stomach goop. It took about 12,000 hours to create the life-sized and life-like replica. Unlike their less scrupulous fantasy shows –ie Mermaids—exec producer Paul Wooding has described it as “what it might be like to find a real dinosaur.”

So we can gasp, laugh, gag and learn something about these beasts that once ruled the world. Hey, they may have become extinct millions of years ago, but Rex is still pretty entertaining.