May 08, 2014 04:26 AM EDT
Researchers Discover T.rex 's Cousin in China
A team of Chinese and Scottish researchers have discovered a new species of long-snouted dinosaur that roamed the Earth more than 66 million years ago.
The ancient predator, nicknamed "Pinocchio rex", was part of the same family as the famed Tyrannosaurus rex and lived in Asia during the late Cretaceous period (the last days of the dinosaurs). The terrifying carnivore had an elongated skull and long, narrow teeth compared to the powerful jaws and thick teeth of their cousin T. rex.
Paleontologists questioned the existence of long-snouted tyrannosaurs till the fossilized remnants of the dinosaur, Qianzhousaurus sinensis, were discovered from a construction site near the city of Ganzhou in southern China.
So far, only two fossilized tyrannosaurs with elongated heads have been found. Both of them juvenile, were uncovered in Mongolia. The new dinosaur specimen is a young adult.
Researchers from Edinburgh University and the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences said that Pinocchio rex might have existed alongside deep-snouted tyrannosaurs but would have probably pursued different preys. Qianzhousaurus's thinner teeth and lighter skeleton indicates that the species hunted smaller creatures like lizards and feathered dinosaurs.
The T.rex's cousin would have been about 29 feet long and weighed 1,800 pounds, IBTimes reports. It had a long, slender nose studded with tiny horns, National Geographic reports. The enormous carnivore had a distinctive horny snout and its nose was 35 percent longer than other dinosaurs of similar size, BBC reports.
"Pinocchio looked very different to other tyrannosaurs. We thought it needed a nickname, and the long snout made us think of Pinocchio's long nose," Dr Steve Brusatte, Chancellor's Fellow in Vertebrate Palaeontology at the University of Edinburgh, said.
"This is a different breed of tyrannosaur: It has the familiar toothy grin of T. rex, but its snout was much longer and it had a row of horns on its nose. It might have looked a little comical, but it would have been as deadly as any other tyrannosaur, and maybe even a little faster and stealthier," Brusatte said in a statement.
The finding was published in the journal Nature Communications.
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