Tuesday, 12 November 2013

King Of Gore: Super Predator Cousin Of T. Rex Found In Utah

Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

You may have noticed your local paleontologist has had an extra bounce in his step this week. That might have something to do with a monumental find of a new super-predator dinosaur in the Wahweap Formation within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in south-central Utah. Known as Lythronax argestes, this super predator lived 80 million years ago and is a distant, older cousin to the larger Tyrannosaurus rex.

Measuring almost 30 feet in length, L. argestes (translated: King of Gore) was the largest predator of its day. The findings have been published in the journal PLOS One and the team hopes this new discovery will yield valuable insight into what the climate was like towards the end of the age of dinosaurs.

“It’s always exciting to find new species but what’s really significant is what these species tell us about their ancient world,” said Randall Irmis, co-author of the study at the Natural History Museum of Utah. “This was a very different place 80 million years ago. It was a very lush, wet, tropical environment and there were no polar ice caps at the time.”

The discovery first occurred four years ago when a partial skeleton and bones from the skull and rest of the body were unearthed. They have been the focus of intense study in the lab since that time.

As noted above, L. argestes is very closely related to T. rex. One of the important findings from this discovery is how the two great beasts shared similar features, proving that evolution occurred 10 million years earlier than had been previously thought.

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