New dinosaur species found in east China

09:50, May 15, 2011      

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Chinese scientists said Saturday that they have found a new species of giant theropod dinosaur in the eastern province of Shandong.

The new species, described as a close relative of Tyrannosaurus rex (T. rex), has been named "Zhuchengtyrannus magnus". Paleontological experts found it has unique upper jawbones after examining the skull and jawbones discovered in the city of Zhucheng.

It was estimated to be about 11 meters long and 4 meters tall, weighing close to 7 tonnes.

"We discovered two kinds of tyrannosaurus fossils here and the identity of the other one still remains unclear," said Xu Xing, a researcher at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

"We've named the new genus Zhuchengtyrannus magnus, which means the 'Tyrant from Zhucheng' because the bones were found in Zhucheng," Xu said.

The bones were a few centimeters smaller than the similar bones in the largest T. Rex specimen, so there was no doubt that Zhuchengtyrannus was a huge tyrannosaur, Xu said.

According to Xu, Zhuchengtyrannus magnus belonged to a specialized group of gigantic theropods called tyrannosaurines which existed in North America and eastern Asia during the Late Cretaceous Period that dated back about 65 to 99 million years.

All tyrannosaurs were carnivorous, bipedal animals that generally had small arms and large skulls. Among the tyrannosaurs, the tyrannosaurines were the largest and characterized by having just two fingers on each hand and large powerful jaws to deliver a bone crushing bite. They were likely both predators and scavengers.

The fossil quarry in Zhucheng contains one of the largest concentrations of dinosaur bones in the world. At least 10 dinosaur species have been found in three rounds of excavations since the 1960s, including Tyrannosaurus and Hadrosaurs.

Source: Xinhua

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