Newly found dinosaur that walked Earth 66m yrs ago was T. rex's long-nosed cousin
Researchers have found a new species of long-snouted tyrannosaur, nicknamed Pinocchio rex, which stalked the Earth more than 66 million years ago.
Researchers say the animal, which belonged to the same dinosaur family as Tyrannosaurus rex, was a fearsome carnivore that lived in Asia during the late Cretaceous period.
The newly found ancient predator looked very different from most other tyrannosaurs. It had an elongated skull and long, narrow teeth compared with the deeper, more powerful jaws and thick teeth of a conventional T. rex.
Palaeontologists were uncertain of the existence of long-snouted tyrannosaurs until the remains of the dinosaur a€" named Qianzhousaurus sinensis a€" were unearthed in southern China.
Until now, only two fossilised tyrannosaurs with elongated heads had been found, both of which were juveniles. It was unclear whether these were a new class of dinosaur or if they were at an early growth stage, and might have gone on to develop deeper, more robust skulls.
The new specimen, described by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences and the University of Edinburgh, is of an animal nearing adulthood. It was found largely intact and remarkably well preserved, thereby confirming the existence of tyrannosaur species with long snouts.
Experts say Qianzhousaurus sinensis lived alongside deep-snouted tyrannosaurs but would not have been in direct competition with them, as they were larger and probably hunted different prey.
Qianzhousaurus sinensis lived until around 66 million years ago when all of the dinosaurs became extinct, likely as the result of a deadly asteroid impact.
The study has been published in the journal Nature Communications.
(Posted on 08-05-2014)