Tyrannosaurus Rex vs Suburban, Who Wins?

Who wins a match-up between a gigantic Cretaceous monster and a fossil fuel guzzling SUV?

My children sometimes ask me ridiculous questions. So one day while staring off into space while waiting for them to return from school (not really, but I am pretty sure that is what they think I am doing) I thought, you know, I could answer those questions. Now I take note and try to give them serious answers to their seriously absurd questions. The very first is: T.Rex vs Suburban, who wins?

Now assuming it were possible to set up a match between our players, one would have to look at stats to get a sense.


T. Rex



6 – 9 tons

Less than 3 tons

Top Speed

20 miles per hour

93 miles per hour*


Up to 40 feet

18.5 feet


15 – 20 feet

6.4 feet

Safety Features

Teeny arms

Front and side curtain airbags

Special Talents

4-foot long jaw could produce 1,500 – 3,000 lbs of force, could consume as much as 500 lbs in one bite.

Can tow almost 1.5 times own weight. At current gas prices, one could take seven children to the new dinosaur exhibit at the Museum of Natural History in New York City for the price of one full tank. You would need another tank’s worth of cash to buy them snacks.

Special Weaknesses

T.Rex’s teeny arms would be unlikely to adequately to break a fall and its enormous head would hit the ground hard enough to cause major injury or even death.**

Relies upon fossil fuels for locomotion. (One trip to Vermont burns approximately 300 prehistoric chicken sized dinosaurs.***)

* 93 MPH is as fast as I’ve ever driven my Suburban. GM & the speedometer will tell you they can go faster than that.

** The enormous head link doesn’t take you anywhere that has anything to do with dinosaurs but is worth clicking on, nevertheless.

*** There is no basis in fact or science for this statement – all other assertions have been researched.

In October 2011, a new type of laser scan enabled scientists to more accurately estimate the actual living size of dinosaurs. They determined that SUE, the most complete and largest T. Rex fossil in existence that lives at Chicago’s Field Museum, was about 30 percent bigger than initially thought. They now estimate that she weighed north of 9 tons - about 3 times the Chevrolet Suburban. But all this mass comes at a price. From Science Daily:

The rapid growth to gargantuan size came at the cost of speed and agility, according to the study, which concluded that the locomotion of this giant biped slowed as the animal grew. This is because its torso became longer and heavier while its limbs grew relatively shorter and lighter, shifting its center of balance forward… Our study supports the relative consensus among scientists that peak speeds around 10-25 miles per hour (17-40 kph) were possible for big tyrannosaurs.

Given the dino’s massive size advantage, the acceleration capabilities of the Suburban are critical in the matchup. While Chevrolet.com brags about the 0 - 60 capabilities of their smaller cars and of course the Corvette, this information is well hidden on the Suburban. Perhaps like the T.Rex its ponderous size has a detrimental impact, but I can say from my own experience, the Suburban has enough acceleration capability to make a Prius look like a golf cart (and its 78 - 55 isn't too shabby either.)

Because of its relative hugeness, in a cage match, one would have to bet on the dino. Without defined borders, the Suburban’s superior speed makes it a good bet - provided the driver doesn’t panic when facing down a monster from the Cretaceous period.

At the end of the day though, one is extinct and one is not: Suburban wins.


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Brian Moloney - The Freelance Retort November 05, 2011 at 11:32 PM
Hi Liz, Funny stuff. Looking forward to the next question and beyond….
Kim Latham November 09, 2011 at 12:19 PM
So funny Liz! I am going to share with the kids. We have tons of such questions over here, now I can refer them to the neighborhood expert! A current favorite is the 'would you rather' theme. Would you rather be stuck in a washing machine for a cycle, or a dryer for a cycle? Looking forward to more reports!
Liz Gereghty November 09, 2011 at 12:31 PM
Sounds like the Lathams will be a good source of questions for me! And to think I was worried that I would run out of material as mine got older. I think I would go washer as long as it's not the spin cycle.
Rebecca Roban November 21, 2011 at 01:11 PM
Awesome! I will be sending my kids your way for some real answers rather than raised eyebrows and deflection!!
Theresa Kump Leghorn November 21, 2011 at 01:31 PM
You should write for that TV show "Myth Busters"!


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