Canada Discovers T-Rex's Dinosaur Cousin Named "Reaper Of Death"

First new Canadian tyrannosaur species in 50 years identified by Alberta researchers

Tyrannosaurs, or "tyrant lizards", were the dominant predators on land for millions of years before the extinction of dinosaurs some 65 million years ago.

"Thanatotheristes can be distinguished from all other tyrannosaurs by numerous characteristics of the skull, but the most prominent are vertical ridges that run the length of the upper jaw", said Jared Voris, a University of Calgary Ph.D. student and lead author of the study, in a press statement. Hence the new species' full name, Thanatotheristes degrootorum.

There were some other fossils found nearby those of T. degrootorum in Alberta, but those belonged to some plant-eating dinosaurs, Live Science reported.

It seems that Voris wasn't expecting to find a new species of tyrannosaur, but rather stumbled across it as he was cataloging fossils at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

"The jawbone was an absolutely stunning find", Mr De Groot said. "We knew it was special because you could clearly see the fossilized teeth".

When they lived, tyrannosaurs (including the Tyrannosaurus rex) were large predatory theropod dinosaurs.

She says Voris' keen eye recognized the new species and earned him the right to name it.

The new tyrannosaur is not believed to have been a direct ancestor of T. rex, but was its own evolutionary offshoot. Officially announced by the Royal Tyrrell Museum, the "Reaper Of Death" is the oldest tyrannosaur species ever found on Canadian soil based on a report by researchers from the University of Calgary.

The team plans to go this summer to the original site where the bones were found to see what else they can find. "That's how we discovered that the specimen was much older than all the previous dinosaurs from Alberta".

This new species, which carries the scientific name Thanatotheristes degrootorum, is believed to be the oldest Tyranosaurus species ever found in Canada, and its discoverers believe it was a unsafe predator.

"It was a species that was distinct from T-Rex and it wasn't until several million years later that T-Rex came to North America, probably from Asia, and invaded and replaced all the tyrannosaurs that we see in North America from that time range". Do you think it really deserves the name "Reaper of Death", or should a name that aggressive be reserved for one of the larger species of the Tyrannosauridae family?

"There are very few species of tyrannosaurids, relatively speaking", said Zelenitsky, co-author of the study that appeared in the journal Cretaceous Research.

Of the 15 different species of tyrannosaurs, five of them have been found in Alberta.



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