29-foot-long tyrannosaur flashed more teeth than T. Rex

January 29th, 2010 - 2:37 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, January 29 (ANI): A research has revealed that a newly found 29-foot-long tyrannosaur flashed more teeth than the well-known Tyrannosaurus rex, with which it shared a common ancestor.

Remains of the badlands dinosaur, Bistahieversor sealeyi, were collected in the first paleontological excavation from a federal wilderness area, the Bisti/De-na-zin Wilderness of New Mexico.

The dino’s remains were airlifted by a helicopter operated by the Air Wing of the New Mexico Army National Guard.

“Bistahieversor sealeyi is the first valid new genus and species of tyrannosaur to be named from western North America in over 30 years,” said co-author Thomas Williamson, curator of paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History.

It lived 74-75 million years ago, close to 10 years before T. rex emerged.

The earliest known tyrannosaurs date to about 167 million years ago and came from the American West, according to Thomas Carr, who is director of the Carthage Institute of Paleontology and an assistant professor of biology at Carthage College.

It is now therefore believed that the rough and tumble Tyrannosauridae family was born in the U.S.A.

Several features distinguish the new dinosaur, according to Carr.

It had around 64 teeth, while adult T. rex, had just 54.

However, Carr added, “The teeth of B. sealeyi were smaller and narrower than those of T. rex, which had the largest teeth among the tyrannosauroids.”

The new dinosaur also had an unusual hole in its head, just above the eyes. The hole has not been seen on any other tyrannosaur, and might have helped to lighten the load of its head.

“The opening above the eye was produced by an air sac within the skull that removed bone where it was not needed,” said Carr.

“The opening would not have been visible when the animal was alive (because) it would have been covered by skin,” he added.

The dinosaur also had a “complex joint at its forehead.”

Carr explained that usually these animals show three prongs of the snout extending into the forehead, but the New Mexico beast had seven.

“This complex joint might have functioned to stabilize and prevent motion at the joint,” he said. (ANI)

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