News ID: 265476
Published: 0816 GMT February 11, 2020

Scientists discover new dinosaur species related to T. rex

Scientists discover new dinosaur species related to T. rex
JULIUS CSOTONY/GETTY IMAGES

Scientists in Canada announced the discovery of a new species of dinosaur closely related to Tyrannosaurus rex that strode the plain of North America about 80 million years ago.

Thanatotheristes degrootorum – Greek for “reaper of death” – is thought to be the oldest member of the T. rex family yet discovered in northern North America, and would have grown to around 8m (26ft.) in length, AFP reported.

“We chose a name that embodies what this tyrannosaur was as the only known large apex predator of its time in Canada, the reaper of death,” said Darla Zelenitsky, assistant professor of dinosaur paleobiology at Canada’s University of Calgary.

“The nickname has come to be Thanatos,” she told AFP.

Whereas T. rex – the most famous of all dinosaur species – stalked its prey about 66 million years ago, Thanatos dates back at least 79 million years, the team said.

The specimen was discovered by Jared Voris, a Ph.D. student at Calgary, and is the first new tyrannosaur species found for 50 years in Canada.

“There are very few species of tyrannosaurids, relatively speaking,” said Zelenitsky, coauthor of the study that appeared in the journal Cretaceous Research.

“Because of the nature of the food chain these large apex predators were rare compared to herbivorous or plant-eating dinosaurs.”

The study found that Thanatos had a long, deep snout, similar to more primitive tyrannosaurs that lived in the southern US.

The researchers suggested that the difference in tyrannosaur skull shapes between regions could have been down to differences in diet, and dependent on the prey available at the time.

 

 

 

 

   
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