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Pygmy Tyrannosaur Fossil Discovered in Alaska

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An illustration provided by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science shows the size comparison of the T-Rex's smaller cousin (see A and B)

An illustration provided by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science shows the size comparison of the T-Rex's smaller cousin (see A and B)

An illustration provided by the Perot Museum of Nature and Science shows the size comparison of the T-Rex’s smaller cousin (see A and B)

Northern Alaska, United States – Fragments of a 70 million year old dinosaur skull has been found in the ice covered Northern region of Alaska which paleontologists have concluded is that of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

The find is significant on two counts. First of all, no T-rex has been discovered this far north. The placement of the skull alone opens up a wide range of possibilities as to what life was life for the carnivore. Secondly, the size of the skull is mere 63.5 cm (25 in).

The standard size of an adult T-rex is 152.4 cm (60 in). This means that while the analysis of the jaw, maxilla, and skull roof are clearly those of a Tyrannosaurus rex, the fossils represent a much smaller relative called Nanuqsaurus hoglundi or pygmy tyrannosaur.

The conclusion is that the skull does not represent an adolescent T-rex, but the much smaller Nanuqsaurus hoglundi. It is believed that the smaller height of the species is a simple reflection of the scarcity of food sources compared to those found further south by the much larger T-rex. Scientists believe that the Nanuqsaurus hoglundi inhabited Alaska at a time when the earth’s temperatures were comparatively warmer than they are today. The study of the fossil was conducted by two scientist from the Texas Perot Museum of Nature and Science. The authors, Anthony Fiorillo and Ronald Tykoski, believe the finding reveals much about both the environment and biological wealth of the polar region from long ago.

Source:
Found in the ice, Tiny-saurus rex: Analysis of 70million-year-old skull discovered in Alaska suggests pygmy species of the dinosaur roamed colder climes
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2579726/Found-ice-Tiny-saurus-rex-Analysis-70million-year-old-skull-discovered-Alaska-suggests-pygmy-species-dinosaur-roamed-colder-climes.html

Tomas Carbry possesses a decade of journalism experience and consistently upholds rigorous standards. His focus areas include technology and global issues.