In the south of Utah, a new super-predator dinosaur which roamed the Earth over 80 million years ago has been discovered and it was a relative of the T. rex. Tyrannosaurus rex was a slightly larger relative but this dinosaur lived earlier, making it the biggest living land predator of that time period. The dinosaur grew to around 30 ft. long, and it has been given the name Lythronax argestes which stands for “the king of gore”.
This study, which has been published in the journal Plos One, highlights once again that the age of dinosaur discovery is far from being over. The team also anticipates the new finding will help reveal what Earth’s climate was like near the end of the time of dinosaurs.
It is always exciting to discover new species, but what is mostly important is what these animals are able to tell scientists about the world they lived in, stated Randall Irmis, who was one of the co-authors of the research study at the Natural History Museum of Utah, United States.
The Earth was extremely different back then at the time of that dinosaur. The region was wet, lush and basically a tropical environment. There were also no polar ice caps existing at that time.
The Lythronax argestes belonged to an assembly of carnivorous dinosaurs named Tyrannosaurids, the same family as T. rex. They were the greatest carnivores, although not the biggest, to have roamed the Earth. This particular dinosaur was discovered back in 2009. It was made up of a partial skeleton which was comprised of a number of bones from the skull and others out of the rest of the animal’s body. The fossils were then exhumed and taken to a lab where they were studied.
This creature had a short and slender snout with slanting, forward-set eyes. It also had a mouth that was full of sharp teeth, just like its evolutionary relative. It was a vicious predator, the biggest of that time period.
The researchers also found the most thorough fossil set of another dinosaur in the Tyrannosaur family. It was known as Teratophoneus curriei and there had only been a very few bones from skulls but the team discovered over 70 percent of one fossil skeleton.
Dr. Irmis explained that there is a whole range of various branches of the Tyrannosaur family that are just waiting to be discovered. It had been unclear why there were so many Tyrannosaurid species existing in a related area, since the animals were able to move around at will. The paleontologists think this was because of the changing sea levels.
It is believed that when the sea was high it was separating areas in the western part of North America, so that allowed various species to develop in seclusion and that would be why there are so many various species, explained Dr. Irmis.
He also stated that the Lythronax argestes was given the “gore king” nickname because of its super slayer status. The second portion of its official name which is “argestes” comes from the Greek poet Homer when he named a brutal south-westerly wind in one of his poems.
The Tyrannosaurids were the big predators in their ecosystem. Based on the fossil record, it is fair to say that they probably ate anything that would fit into their mouths. The Lythronax argestes was different from other dinosaurs in that it was able to look straight ahead because it had vision similar to binoculars. This type of eyesight probably made it a better hunter.
The research team stated that finding all the various dinosaur fossils are just the tip of the iceberg. It is amazing what they are discovering in Utah at the moment. Anyone can be strolling along and just find pieces of fossils scattered all over the mountain slopes.
If a person is walking over a Utah hill and happens to find another dinosaur relative of T.Rex, that would be a wonderful discovery.
By Kimberly Ruble