A TINY relative of the legendary Tyrannosaurus Rex has been discovered by scientists.
Moros intrepidus weighed less than the average British bloke but had “bone crushing” jaws that made it a fearsome killer.
JORGE GONZALEZ Moros intrepidus was a formidable hunter (artist’s impression)
It stalked the Earth nearly 100million years ago and paved the way for the likes of T-Rex to dominate the planet.
“Moros was lightweight and exceptionally fast,” said Dr Lindsay Zanno, a scientist at North Carolina State University.
“These adaptations, together with advanced sensory capabilities, are the mark of a formidable predator.
“It could easily have run down prey, while avoiding confrontation with the top predators of the day.”
Communications Biology Its bones were found in Utah
Dr Zanno’s fossil-hunting team discovered the new species while digging for dino bones in the western US state of Utah.
They found teeth and a hind limb, and quickly spotted that they once belonged to a tyrannosaur – the group of meat-eating dinosaurs to which T-Rex belonged.
Moros intrepidus, whose name means “harbinger of doom,” is the oldest Cretaceous period tyrannosaur species ever discovered in North America.
It stood three or four feet tall and only weighed about 78 kilograms.
Communications Biology The bones revealed the dinosaur was a newly found species of tyrannosaur
And it reveals crucial information about how the T-Rex came to rule over the American continent.
The giant beasts descended from species like Moros, which moved to North America from Asia about 30million years before T-Rex first appeared.
“With a lethal combination of bone-crunching bite forces, stereoscopic vision, rapid growth rates, and colossal size, tyrant dinosaurs reigned uncontested for 15million years leading up to the end-Cretaceous extinction,” Dr Zanno said.
“Moros signals the establishment of the iconic Late Cretaceous ecosystems of North America.”
The research was published in the journal Communications Biology.
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