The ferocious family: Scientists discover fossils belonging to T-Rex's cousin|
Dinosaur had a 1m-long skull and chisel-like bone-crushing teeth 9cm long
Scientists have identified a dinosaur they are describing as 'T-Rex's cousin' from fossils dug up in China.
The gigantic creature roamed North America and east Asia between about 65million and 99million years ago.
Researchers led by Dr David Hone, from University College Dublin, discovered fragments of fossils from the meat eater in a so-called dinosaur quarry in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong.
Ferocious: An artist's impression of the dinosaur, identified from recent fossils found in China, which experts believe was the cousin of the T-Rex
Known as a theropod because it walks on its two hind legs, the dinosaur is said to be a close relative of T-Rex.
It was identified from skull, jaw bone and pieces of teeth. Based on their size it measured about 11m long, stood about 4m tall and weighed close to six tonnes.
Dr Hone, from UCD's school of biology and environmental science, spent three years at the Shandong site before joining the Dublin college.
'It's another big T-Rex and these things don't turn up every day. It's one of the biggest predators of all time,' he said.
'It's the first super-gigantic T-Rex relative discovered in quite a long time. It would be top of the food chain because it would be the biggest thing out there feeding but there are a couple of others out there the same size.'
Sharp: The jaw bone and teeth of the new dinosaur, right, are slightly smaller than those of the T-Rex, left, but scientists still believe the two creatures were closely related
T-Rex's cousin had a 1m-long skull and rounded, chisel-like, bone-crushing teeth 9cm long.
The dinosaur has been officially named Zhuchengtyrannus magnus in honour of Zhucheng, the city in which the fossils were found. But because of its huge size, scientists quickly tagged it T-Rex's cousin.
Dr Hone said: 'With only some skull and jaw bones to work with, it is difficult to precisely gauge the overall size of this animal.
'But the bones we have are just a few centimetres smaller than the equivalent ones in the largest T-Rex specimen. So there is no doubt that Zhuchengtyrannus was a huge tyrannosaurine.'
'We named the new genus Zhuchengtyrannus magnus, which means the Tyrant from Zhucheng, because the bones were found in the city of Zhucheng, in eastern China's Shandong province.'
Comparison: Researches said that the T-Rex's cousin roamed North America and east Asia about 65 to 99 million years ago. Here, fragments of the jaw bone are shown
The research paper was published in Cretaceous Research in the online journal Science Direct.
Another T-Rex-related dinosaur of similar size has been found in the quarry area, the fossils of which are still being analysed.
Tyrannosaurines, which includes T Rex and its cousin, were huge carnivores characterised by small arms, two-fingered hands and large, bone-crushing jaws. They were likely both predators and scavengers.
Dr Hone was the lead author of the scientific paper but was supported in the research by Professor Xu Xing of the Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, who has named more than 30 dinosaurs, making him the world leader in describing new dinosaur species.
The Shandong quarry is home to one of the largest concentrations of dinosaur bones in the world.
Research suggests the area contains so many dinosaur fossils because it was a large flood plain where many dinosaur bodies were washed together during floods and fossilised.
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