Paleontologists have made a startling discovery of a new dinosaur species that could have given the T-Rex a run for its money in Jurassic Park films, according to sources.
The newfound tyrannosaur, named Tyrannosaurus mcraeensis, has been identified as the closest known relative of the iconic T-Rex.
Initially misclassified as a Tyrannosaurus rex, the fossil records of this ancient predator revealed its distinction as a "sister" species within the same family.
Before this revelation, the only recognized relatives of the T-Rex were Tarbosaurus bataar and Zhuchengtyrannus magnus, both discovered in China and Mongolia. The fossilized skull of Tyrannosaurus mcraeensis was unearthed in 1983 in the Hall Lake Formation in New Mexico, challenging previous assumptions about its classification.
Displayed at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science as a T-Rex skull, the specimen caught the attention of paleontologists in 2013. Subtle differences in cranial shape compared to the T-Rex led researchers to reevaluate its classification.
Recent research, published in Nature, revealed that the skull dated back 71 to 73 million years, making it older than the T-Rex by three to five million years.
The morphology of Tyrannosaurus mcraeensis differs significantly from T-Rex, with a more slender and curved lower jaw and the absence of prominent bosses over the eyes. Nick Longrich, a paleontologist at the University of Bath and co-author of the paper, suggested that the newfound species may have been similar in size to an adult T-Rex, but the possibility of larger individuals exists.
Speculating on a hypothetical encounter between T-Rex and T. mcraeensis, Longrich proposed they would have been evenly matched in a fight. The study also sheds light on the Tyrannosaurus lineage's origins, indicating that the family likely originated in Laramidia, an island continent spanning western North America during the Late Cretaceous period.
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The phylogenetic analysis places T. mcraeensis as the sister to T. rex, emphasizing the southern Laramidia region as a crucial location for the evolution of giant tyrannosaurs and other large-bodied dinosaurs.
This discovery contributes valuable insights into the prehistoric world and the evolutionary history of these fascinating creatures.
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