New Species Of Dinosaur Discovered In Utah
November 12, 2013

New Species Of Dinosaur Discovered In Utah

The fascination with dinosaurs, for most of us, starts when we are children and doesn’t stop even into our elderly years. One of the most popular species is the Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was a ferocious predator that put fear into the other species of dinosaurs. A relative of the T-Rex has been discovered, and it puts excitement into the people who grew up fascinated by dinosaurs.

In November 2009, skeletal remains of a new species of dinosaur, considered to be a distant relative of the T-Rex, were unearthed in volcanic ash in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument of Utah.

Paleontologists have named this new species Lythronax agrestes, nicknamed “King of Gore.”

After its discovery, researchers spent four years gathering, analyzing, and reassembling the bones. They then traveled to other regions of the world where other tyrannosaur type fossils have been found to ensure this was a new species.

The full-scale skeleton of the Lythronax was unveiled at the Natural History Museum of Utah on Wednesday, November 6, with a 3D model of the head and a painted mural of the creature running along the shoreline.

The size of the Lythronax is slightly smaller than the T-Rex, but considered to be just as vicious. It was 24 feet long and eight feet tall, with a large body and small arms. It was also believed to be covered with scales and feathers. It had a very narrow snout, but the back of its skull was very wide. Its eyes were forward facing, with binocular vision for keen eyesight.

Mark Loewen, a University of Utah paleontologist, was asked what it ate. His response was, “whatever it wants.” He also said, “that skull is designed for grabbing something, shaking it to death and tearing it apart.”

Loewen, who was also in charge of the dig stated, “discovering the Lythronax pushes back the evolution of the group that gives rise to T-Rex, which is something we didn’t understand before. Lythronax is like the great-uncle of T-Rex.”

In the area where the new dinosaur was found, there are one million acres of cretaceous rock with only ten percent of it explored. A BLM paleontologist named Titus stated, “We are just getting started. We have a really big sandbox to play in.”

The Lythronax is believed to have lived 80 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period of North America. Thomas Holtz Jr., a University of Maryland paleontologist, said, “this shows that these big, banana-tooth bruisers go back to the very first days of the giant tyrant dinosaurs. This one is the first example of these kind of dinosaurs being the ruler of the land.”

He also stated, “it shows we don’t have to go to Egypt or Mongolia or China to find new dinosaurs. It’s just a matter of getting the field teams out.”

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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