Small T. rex Relative Present in New Mexico: Suskityrannus hazelae

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A brand new species of predatory tyrannosauroid dinosaur that lived about 92 million years in the past (Cretaceous interval) has been recognized from fossils present in New Mexico.

An artist’s rendering of how Suskityrannus hazelae may have looked. Image credit: Andrey Atuchin.

An artist’s rendering of how Suskityrannus hazelae might have appeared. Picture credit score: Andrey Atuchin.

The brand new dinosaur, named Suskityrannus hazelae, was a tiny relative of Tyrannosaurus rex, about 9 toes (2.7 m) lengthy and three toes (Zero.9 m) tall on the hip.

The traditional creature weighed between 20 and 41 kg, in comparison with a Tyrannosaurus rex’s weight of as much as 9 tons.

Its weight-reduction plan doubtless consisted of the identical as its bigger meat-eating counterpart, with Suskityrannus hazelae doubtless searching small animals.

Suskityrannus hazelae provides us a glimpse into the evolution of tyrannosaurs simply earlier than they take over the planet,” mentioned Dr. Sterling Nesbitt, a paleontologist within the Division of Geosciences on the Virginia Tech Faculty of Science.

“It additionally belongs to a dinosaurian fauna that simply proceeds the enduring dinosaurian faunas within the newest Cretaceous that embody a few of the most well-known dinosaurs, akin to Triceratops, predators like Tyrannosaurus rex, and duckbill dinosaurs like Edmontosaurus.”

Dr. Sterling Nesbitt and the partial skeleton of Suskityrannus hazelae, which he found at age 16 in 1998. Image credit: Virginia Tech.

Dr. Sterling Nesbitt and the partial skeleton of Suskityrannus hazelae, which he discovered at age 16 in 1998. Picture credit score: Virginia Tech.

Two partial skeletons of Suskityrannus hazelae have been discovered on 1990s expeditions to the Zuni Basin in western New Mexico.

Suskityrannus hazelae has a way more slender cranium and foot than its later and bigger cousins, Tyrannosaurus rex,” Dr. Nesbitt mentioned.

“The discover additionally hyperlinks the older and smaller tyrannosauroids from North America and China with the a lot bigger tyrannosaurids that lasted till the ultimate extinction of non-avian dinosaurs.”

The findings have been printed within the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.

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Sterling J. Nesbitt et al. A mid-Cretaceous tyrannosauroid and the origin of North American end-Cretaceous dinosaur assemblages. Nature Ecology & Evolution, printed on-line Might 6, 2019; doi: 10.1038/s41559-019-0888-Zero

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