Rare chance to see T.rex up close and personal

With jaws so big and teeth so sharp, you can almost hear the terrifying roar of a tyrannosaurus rex when coming face-to-face with one of the most well-preserved dinosaur fossils on the planet.

Up to 250,000 visitors to the Melbourne Museum are expected to stare down Victoria the T.rex - an exhibit so rare one of the nation's leading paleontologists described seeing the 66 million-year-old skeleton as a lifelong dream come true.

The 12-metre-long Cretaceous predator is complete with about half its original fossil bones, far more than the usual 10 to 15 per cent of bones in most carnivorous dinosaur skeletons.

A rare giant skeleton of a 66 million-year-old T.rex will go on show at the Melbourne Museum.

"You get to see the real McCoy," Melbourne Museum palaeontologist Erich Fitzgerald said.

"It's the closest I've ever got to the skull of a T.rex.

"It's all at once the thing of dreams for a lifelong dinosaur nut and it's also simply terrifying."

Dr Fitzgerald said Victoria's "superbly" preserved skull was so rare that it was displayed at ground level to avoid damaging the brittle bones weighing 139 kilograms.

Palaeontologist Erich Fitzgerald
"It's the closest I've ever got to the skull of a T. rex," palaeontologist Erich Fitzgerald says.

It was behind temperature-controlled glass, offering a chance to see fine textures in its razor-sharp teeth and delicate eye sockets.

"The bones have really been through the geological ringer for millions and millions of years - compaction, tearing, breakage, bending," he said.

"These muscle bones are unusually well preserved so we get to see details that otherwise you wouldn't in a dinosaur."

The 199 bones were discovered in 2013 in South Dakota in the United States, with the skeleton restored in Canada.

Victoria will be placed alongside the museum's permanent Triceratops display, offering fossil fans a unique opportunity to see two rare skeletons at the same time.

A Tyrannosaurus rex fossil
The 12-metre-long Cretaceous predator is complete with about half its original fossil bones.

"I've never seen such a group of excited paleontologists," Museums Victoria chief executive Lynley Crosswell said.

"To have both of these under this roof is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

She said the Australian-first exhibition would be accompanied by experiences including special dining offerings.

"These exhibitions like Victoria transport us back 66 million years," Ms Crosswell said.

"They connect us with the natural world as it was while at the same time informing scientific and ecology literacy."

A Tyrannosaurus rex fossil
The Tyrannosaurus rex fossil is being prepared for display at Melbourne Museum from June 28.

Creative Industries Minister Colin Brooks said the exhibition was expected to drive the visitor economy and benefit hotels and restaurants.

"It will drive economic benefits and returns," he said.

"People certainly will be coming to visit Victoria from interstate and overseas."

Victoria the T.rex is on display at Melbourne Museum from June 28 to October 20.

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