New 'reaper of death' Tyrannosaur species discovered in Canada

First new Canadian tyrannosaur species in 50 years identified by Alberta researchers

First new Canadian tyrannosaur species in 50 years identified by Alberta researchers

An article detailing Thanatotheristes degrootorus and written by Voris, Zelenitsky, Therrien and paleontologist Caleb Brown, was published Monday in the journal Cretaceous Research.

"I realized that there were features that made it completely unique from all those other ones so that was what instigated the discovery of this new species was just kind of comparing those to all the other tyrannosaur fossils we have found here in the past", said Voris.

"Thanatotheristes can be distinguished from all other tyrannosaurs by numerous characteristics of the skull, but the most prominent are vertical ridges that run the length of the upper jaw", said Jared Voris, a University of Calgary Ph.D. student and lead author of the study, in a press statement.

A handout photo shows an artist's impression of a Thanatotheristes degrootorum, a newly-discovered species of T-Rex. The new "degrootorum" species honors De Groot, the humble farmer and paleontology enthusiast.

John De Groot found the fossil skull fragments while hiking near his farm near Hays, Alberta.

"The jawbone was an absolutely stunning find". "We knew it was special because you could clearly see the fossilised teeth".

Scientists in Canada have unveiled a new species of dinosaur closely related to, but far older than, the Tyrannosaurus rex.

"They were the apex predators of the eco system and the nature of the food chain, relative to plant eating dinosaurs, there just weren't many of these apex predators", said Zelenitsky.

Researchers have only two skulls from this new species, but here is what the dinosaur may have looked like almost 80 million years ago.

"So we went to the site and measured the stratigraphic section to describe the rock record where the specimen is from in order to determine the age of what that specimen was", said Therrien.

The dinosaur lived in the late Cretaceous Period, making it the oldest known tyrannosaur from North America. Do you think it really deserves the name "Reaper of Death", or should a name that aggressive be reserved for one of the larger species of the Tyrannosauridae family?

Moving forward, Voris and the other scientists studying T. degrootorum's fossilized skull hope to glean more information about how the relatively small species, and other ones like it belonging to the same family, evolved into the monster tyrannosauruses we're now generally more familiar with. "Most places - like in the States - if you have one, two, maybe three tyrannosaurs you're very lucky".

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