Feeds

Meet the FOUR-TON DINO that made little Tyrannosaurs SOIL THEMSELVES

Siats meekerorum - APEX predator

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Before the T. rex held the world in the palm of his tiny, tiny clawed hands, another newly discovered dinosaur was terrorising the planet 98 million years ago.

Siats eating an iguanodontian and intimidating early, small-bodied tyrannosauroids.

Siats chows down on some iguanodontian and scares the crap out of puny tyrannosauroids. Credit: Julio Lacerda, Lindsay Zanno

The giant monster, which was over 30 feet long and weighed more than four tons, is the first of its kind to be discovered in North America.

"This dinosaur was a colossal predator second only to the great T. rex and perhaps Acrocanthosaurus in the North American fossil record," said Lindsay Zanno, lead author on the paper and director of paleontology at North Carolina State University.

Zanno and her colleagues at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and The Field Museum have named the dinosaur Siats meekerorum, referencing a cannibalistic monster from the mythology of the Ute Native American people and the Meeker family, who supported early palaeontologists at The Field Museum.

The bones of the mighty beast were discovered in 2008 by Zanno as part of a Field Museum expedition to 100-million-year-old rocks in the Cedar Mountain Formation in Utah and then dug out in a massive project over the next two summers.

Although it's in the same size bracket as T. rex and other tyrannosaurs, the dinosaur belongs to the carchardontosaurian group of theropods, whose more famous members include the Giganotosaurus.

The specimen comes from the middle of a 30-million-year gap in the fossil record of large North American predatory dinosaurs, when the position of top of the food chain passed from carcharodontosaurians to tyrannosaurs. Because of the lack of physical remains, paleoboffins have been unsure about when exactly this change occurred and if tyrannosaurus outcompeted the earlier dinosaurs or if the carcharodontosaurs went extinct.

Excavations in the Cedar Mountain Formation have thrown up tyrannosaur teeth that indicate that the ones living alongside Siats were puny in comparison and didn't have a hope of taking the apex predator spot.

"The huge size difference certainly suggests that tyrannosaurs were held in check by carcharodontosaurs, and only evolved into enormous apex predators after the carcharodontosaurs disappeared," said Peter Makovicky, study co-author and Curator of Dinosaurs at the Field Museum.

Siats tells scientists that carcharodontosaurians reigned in America for much longer than they previously thought, a discovery that the team reckons is only the beginning for excavations from these mountains.

"Siats is just the tip of the iceberg; our teams are unearthing a lost dinosaurian ecosystem right here in the badlands of western North America," Zanno said.

The full study, "Neovenatorid theropods are apex predators in the Late Cretaceous of North America", was published in Nature Communications.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.