Newly found dinosaur is long-nosed cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex

May 7, 2014
The image shows two Qianzhousaurus individuals hunting. The one in the foreground is chasing a small feathered dinosaur called Nankangia and the one in the background is eating a lizard. Fossils of these three species are known from the ca. 72-66 million-year-old site in Ganzhou, China, where Qianzhousaurus was found. Credit: Chuang Zhao

Scientists have discovered a new species of long-snouted tyrannosaur, nicknamed Pinocchio rex, which stalked the Earth more than 66 million years ago.

Researchers say the animal, which belonged to the same dinosaur family as Tyrannosaurus rex, was a fearsome carnivore that lived in Asia during the late Cretaceous period.

The newly found ancient predator looked very different from most other tyrannosaurs. It had an elongated skull and long, narrow teeth compared with the deeper, more powerful jaws and thick teeth of a conventional T. rex.

Palaeontologists were uncertain of the existence of long-snouted tyrannosaurs until the remains of the dinosaur – named Qianzhousaurus sinensis – were unearthed in southern China.

Until now, only two fossilised tyrannosaurs with elongated heads had been found, both of which were juveniles. It was unclear whether these were a new class of dinosaur or if they were at an early growth stage, and might have gone on to develop deeper, more robust skulls.

The new specimen, described by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences and the University of Edinburgh, is of an animal nearing adulthood. It was found largely intact and remarkably well preserved, thereby confirming the existence of tyrannosaur species with long snouts.

Experts say Qianzhousaurus sinensis lived alongside deep-snouted tyrannosaurs but would not have been in direct competition with them, as they were larger and probably hunted different prey.

The image shows the skull of Qianzhousaurus (upper jaw in left lateral view and lower jaw in reversed right lateral view). Credit: Junchang Lu

Following the find, researchers have created a new branch of the tyrannosaur family for specimens with very long snouts, and they expect more dinosaurs to be added to the group as excavations in Asia continue to identify .

Qianzhousaurus sinensis lived until around 66 million years ago when all of the dinosaurs became extinct, likely as the result of a deadly asteroid impact.

Findings from the study, funded by the Natural Science Foundation of China and the National Science Foundation, are published in the journal Nature Communications.

Dr Steve Brusatte, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, and one of the authors of the study, said: "This is a different breed of tyrannosaur. It has the familiar toothy grin of T. rex, but its snout was much longer and it had a row of horns on its nose. It might have looked a little comical, but it would have been as deadly as any other tyrannosaur, and maybe even a little faster and stealthier."

Professor Junchang Lü, of the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, said: "The new discovery is very important. Along with Alioramus from Mongolia, it shows that the long-snouted tyrannosaurids were widely distributed in Asia. Although we are only starting to learn about them, the long-snouted tyrannosaurs were apparently one of the main groups of predatory dinosaurs in Asia."

Explore further: Bizarre new horned tyrannosaur from Asia described

Related Stories

Bizarre new horned tyrannosaur from Asia described

October 5, 2009

Now, just a few weeks after tiny, early Raptorex kriegsteini was unveiled, a new wrench has been thrown into the family tree of the tyrannosaurs. The new Alioramus altai—a horned, long-snouted, gracile cousin of Tyrannosaurus ...

Scientists find first ever southern tyrannosaur dinosaur

March 25, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists from Cambridge, London and Melbourne have found the first ever evidence that tyrannosaur dinosaurs existed in the southern continents. They identified a hip bone found at Dinosaur Cove in Victoria, ...

Recommended for you

Amateur paleontologist finds rare fossil of fish in Arizona

September 3, 2015

Growing up, Stephanie Leco often would dig in her backyard and imagine finding fossils of a tyrannosaurus rex. She was fascinated with the idea of holding something in her hand that was millions of years old and would give ...

X-rays reveal fossil secrets

September 3, 2015

A sophisticated imaging technique has allowed scientists to virtually peer inside a 10-million-year-old sea urchin, uncovering a treasure trove of hidden fossils.

Early human diet explains our eating habits

August 31, 2015

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed palaeodiet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

editor-b
1 / 5 (3) May 07, 2014
But, along the extinction of these big and wonderful animals or the tranformation into little birds, is there evolution if there is no time? How will evolutionary biology meet new physical paradigms about time, space and so on? Will new conceptual changes deny evolution? Or on the contrary, will it become a more extraordinary process, full of astonishing implications? If so, will dinosuars and past human beings and the rest of living beings become different as science progresses? After all, is life something fix-finite-defined? That is, can one understand it by means of using a brain and its limited words? Does the whole of life fit into a bone box? Indeed, will science find out and add indefinitely without understanding completely? Anyway, is it possible to understand something completely? Along these lines, there is a different book, a preview in goo.gl/rfVqw6 Just another suggestion in order to free-think for an skeptical while
rockwolf1000
5 / 5 (1) May 15, 2014
But, along the extinction of these big and wonderful animals or the tranformation into little birds, is there evolution if there is no time? How will evolutionary biology meet new physical paradigms about time, space and so on? Will new conceptual changes deny evolution? Or on the contrary, will it become a more extraordinary process, full of astonishing implications? If so, will dinosuars and past human beings and the rest of living beings become different as science progresses? After all, is life something fix-finite-defined? That is, can one understand it by means of using a brain and its limited words? Does the whole of life fit into a bone box? Indeed, will science find out and add indefinitely without understanding completely? Anyway, is it possible to understand something completely? Along these lines, there is a different book, a preview in goo.gl/rfVqw6 Just another suggestion in order to free-think for an skeptical while


This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.