Researchers have announced at the beginning of this week that they have discovered a new species of dinosaur.
The newly identified species is closely connected to Tyrannosaurus rex that walked the plains of the now United States about 80 million years ago. Thanatotheristes degrootorum, which in Greek means ‘Reaper of Death,’ is believed to be the oldest fellow in the T-rex species yet found in northern North America. The dinosaur would have grown to approximately eight meters (26 feet) in length.
“We chose a name that embodies what this tyrannosaur was as the only known large apex predator of its time in Canada, the reaper of death,” Darla Zelenitsky, assistant professor of Dinosaur Palaeobiology at Canada’s University of Calgary. “The nickname has come to be Thanatos,” she stated.
The Species is Older Than T-rex
While the widely known T-rex, which is the most popular of all dinosaur groups, depicted in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 legendary Jurassic Park, chased its prey about 66 million years ago, the newly discovered Thanatos was estimated to date back to a minimum of 79 million years, the researchers explained.
The exemplar was found by Jared Voris, a Ph.D. student at Calgary, and it is the first novel Tyrannosaur species discovered for more than five decades in Canada.
Introducing the first new species of tyrannosaur discovered in Canada in 50 years. Meet Thanatotheristes degrootorum, the ‘reaper of death’! Read all about it on our blog: https://t.co/hIQZkxdACk #Thanatotheristes #ReaperOfDeath #RTMPResearch pic.twitter.com/WYNmsMuUFY
— Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology (@RoyalTyrrell) February 10, 2020
“There are very few species of tyrannosaurids, relatively speaking,” said Zelenitsky, co-author of the study that was published in the journal Cretaceous Research. “Because of the nature of the food chain, these large apex predators were rare compared to herbivorous or plant-eating dinosaurs.”
The research discovered the fact that Thanatos had a long and deep snout, much like a lot of primitive tyrannosaurus that used to live in southern North America.
The team of scientists implied that the difference in the dinosaur’s skull forms between areas could have been affected by variations in diet, and was also reliant on the prey available back them.