Feeds

Horny new 'ballerina' Tyrannosaur was light on its feet

Delicate dino coexisted uneasily with bigger brethren

Application security programs and practises

Archaeologists say they have discovered a new kind of tyrannosaurus, very different to the big bruiser tyrannosaurs already well known. The new dino was slim, light on its feet, horny and partial to meat, according to the boffins.

A altai, the new horny lightweight tyrannosaur. Credit: Jason Brougham

Scientist's impression of the horny tyrannoballerina in action.

"Compared to Tyrannosaurus, this new animal is like a ballerina," says Stephen Brusatte of the American Museum of Natural History.

"Not all tyrannosaurs were megapredators adapted for stalking and dismembering large prey. Some tyrannosaurs were small and slender," adds the researcher.

The new, more graceful tyrannosaur is named Alioramus altai. Its fossilised remains were discovered during a 2001 bone-digging expedition to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia co-chiefed by the Museum's paleontology chief, Mark Norell.

A. altai apparently has a similar skeleton to larger Tyrannosaur-type dinos such as Tarbosaurus, Alioramus, Gorgosaurus etc. But among these burly heavyweights, A. altai was surely the butt of cruel locker-room bullying and dino towel-snapping, weighing in at a puny 800 pounds or so - half the weight of the regular tyrannosaurs. The ballerina-esque, "gracile" A. altai also differed from the big boys in having horns and an elongated snout.

"This fossil reveals an entirely new body type among tyrannosaurs, a group we thought we understood pretty well," says Norell. "The different body forms probably allowed Alioramus and Tarbosaurus to coexist."

The comparatively sensitive and delicate little tyrannosaurs still liked meat, though, probably going for smaller prey as they would be unable to cope with really big bones.

Subscribers to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences can read the new research here. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.