Feeds

BLOOD KING of the TYRANNOSAURS, grandad of T-Rex

New and extra nasty overlord flesh-eater discovered

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A new kind of vicious tyrannosaur that pre-dates Tyrannosaurus rex has been unearthed in southern Utah and christened the "King of Gore".

Artist's impression of the Lythronax argestes

The Tyrannosauridae family already contains massive creatures whose names translate as "frightful" and "fierce" kings as well as "monstrous murderer". Now the newest royal addition to the dinosaur family tree has been named Lythronax argestes - literally the king of gore (or sinister blood, if you will) from the southwest.

Paleoboffins previously thought that this branch of the tree, which features wide-skulled tyrannosauridae, only appeared 70 million years ago, but the appearance of L argestes proves that the ancient animals evolved at least 10 million years earlier.

"The width of the back of the skull of Lythronax allowed it to see with an overlapping field of view — giving it binocular vision — very useful for a predator and a condition we associate with T rex," said Dr Mark Loewen of the Natural History Museum of Utah, lead author on the study.

Loewen worked with boffins from the universities of Utah and Alberta, along with others from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, on the skeleton, which was discovered by an employee of the Bureau of Land Management in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah.

Youtube Video

The researchers reckon that the species from the Lythronax genus lived on Laramidia, along the western shores of the seaway that separated North America, where a large number of unique dinosaur species lived and iconic ancient lizards like horned and duck-billed dinosaurs evolved. Tyrannosaurid dinosaurs likely evolved in isolation on this island continent, with those in the south like Lythronax and T rex more closely related than their long-snouted brethren on the northern side of the landmass.

"Lythronax and other tyrannosaurids diversified between 95 and 80 million years ago, during a time when North America's interior sea was at its widest extent," explained Dr Randall Irmis of the Utah museum and university.

"The incursion of the seaway onto large parts of low-lying Laramidia would have separated small areas of land from each other, allowing different species of dinosaurs to evolve in isolation on different parts of the landmass."

As the sea gradually receded, dinosaur differences could have been reinforced by climate variations and varying food sources, helping to explain why the iconic Late Cretaceous lizards of Laramidia are so different from those of the same age on other continents.

Over the last 14 years, palaeontologists have discovered more than a dozen new species of dinosaur in the same monument, including horned, dome-headed, duck-billed and carnivorous varieties, along with fossilised plants, insects, mammals and other animals.

"Lythronax is a wonderful example of just how much more we have to learn about with world of dinosaurs. Many more exciting fossils await discovery in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument," said Dr Philip Currie of the University of Alberta.

The full study, "Tyrant Dinosaur Evolution Tracks the Rise and Fall of Late Cretaceous Oceans", was published in the open-access PLOS One journal at the same time as an exhibit opened at the Natural History Museum of Utah. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.