London: Scientists from Cambridge, London and Melbourne have found the first ever evidence that tyrannosaurs existed in the southern continents, raising the prospect of such a discovery in India, among other countries in the south.
They have identified a hip bone found at Dinosaur Cove in Victoria, Australia as belonging to an ancestor of Tyrannosaurus rex, according to a paper published in `Science`.
The find sheds new light on the evolutionary history of his group of dinosaurs.
It also raises the crucial question of why it was only in the north that tyrannosaurs evolved into the giant predators like T.rex.
Dr Paul Barrett, Paleontologist at the Natural History Museum, London and member of the research team commented, "The absence of tyrannosauroids from the southern continents was becoming more and more anomalous as representatives of other `northern` dinosaur groups started to show up in the south.
"This find shows that tyrannosauroids were able to reach these areas early in their evolutionary history and also hints at the possibility that others remain to be discovered in Africa, South America and India."
The 30cm-long pubis bone from Dinosaur Cove looks like a rod with two expanded ends, one of which is flattened and connects to the hip and the other looks like a `boot`.
According to Dr Roger Benson of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge, who identified the find, "The bone is unambiguously identifiable as a tyrannosaur because these dinosaurs have very distinctive hip bones."
The discovery lays to rest the belief held by some scientists that tyrannosaurs never made it to the southern continents.