Bones of massive meat-eating T-rex "cousin" discovered

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This would have made for quite the rumble in the jungle had they run into one another. Paleontologists working in eastern China have reported discovering a dinosaur that in size and ferocity was comparable to that of the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex.

From the bones they recovered for examination, the scientists believe that the "Zhuchengtyrannus" was one of the largest predators to roam the earth during the late Cretaceous period. The dinosaur, which weighed around 6 tons and about 13 feet tall, was part of a group of theropod dinosaurs called tyrannosaurines. Like others in this group, they were noted for having huge jaws, small arms and two-fingered hands - all the better for ripping, shredding and chomping less powerful animals come meal time.

According to University College paleontologist Dave Hone, who was a co-author of a study announcing the news, this was a rare discovery of one of the largest tyrannosaurines found until now. He noted. that only five carnivorous theropods so far discovered have been any bigger.

The particular area where the Zhuchengtyrannus remains were discovered in 2009, called the Shandong quarry, is something of a nirvana for paleontologists. It is recognized for holding one of the world's biggest concentrations of dinosaur bones.

You can read more about Zhuchengtyrannus at Hone's blog. The paper he co-authored detailing the discovery can be found in the online journal Science Direct.

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