Beijing: Chinese scientists have found a new species of giant theropod dinosaur in the eastern province of Shandong.
The new species, described as a close relative of
Tyrannosaurus rex (T Rex), has been named "Zhuchengtyrannus
Paleontological experts found it has unique upper
jawbones after examining the skull and jawbones discovered in
the city of Zhucheng.
It was estimated to be about 11 meters long and 4
meters tall, weighing close to 7 tonnes.
"We discovered two kinds of tyrannosaurus fossils here
and the identity of the other one still remains unclear," Xu
Xing, a researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology
and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences
told Xinhua news agency.
"We've named the new genus Zhuchengtyrannus magnus,
which means the 'Tyrant from Zhucheng' because the bones were
found in Zhucheng," Xu said.
"The bones were a few centimeters smaller than the
similar bones in the largest T Rex specimen, so there was no
doubt that Zhuchengtyrannus was a huge tyrannosaur," Xu said.
According to Xu, Zhuchengtyrannus magnus belonged to a
specialised group of gigantic theropods called tyrannosaurines which existed in North America and eastern Asia during the late Cretaceous period that dated back about 65 to 99 million years.
All tyrannosaurs were carnivorous, bipedal animals
that generally had small arms and large skulls.
Among the tyrannosaurs, the tyrannosaurines were the
largest and characterised by having just two fingers on each
hand and large powerful jaws to deliver a bone crushing bite.
They were likely both predators and scavengers. The fossil quarry in Zhucheng contains one of the
largest concentrations of dinosaur bones in the world.
At least 10 dinosaur species, including Tyrannosaurus
and Hadrosaurs, have been found in three rounds of excavations
since the 1960s.
First Published: Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 09:30