Thursday, August 4, 2011

Giant theropod discovery

A giant new theropod was discovered called Zhuchengtyrannus magnus.

Weight: approximately six tonnes
Size: probably stood four metres tall, was 11 metres long
Name: means "Tyrant from Zhucheng"
Discovered: in 2009
Location: its bones were found in the city of Zhucheng, in eastern China's Shandong Province.
Time period: North America and eastern Asia during the Late Cretaceous Period, which lasted from about 99 to 65 million years ago.
What makes it unique: However, Zhuchengtyrannus stands apart from other tyrannosaurines due to a combination of unique features in the skull not seen in any other theropod. As well as a piece of lower jaw containing seven partly to fully erupted teeth, scientists found another piece of jaw bone containing eight teeth. For example, the teeth in the predatory dinosaur measure 10cm long.

Palaeontologists only had a partial jaw bone and part of the skull to work with, so it was difficult to gauge the creatures exact size.

Paleontologist Dr. David Hone is saying:
"There is no doubt that Zhuchengtyrannus was a huge tyrannosaurine," says Dr David Hone from University College in Dublin, Ireland, who led the team that discovered and named it.

"With only some skull and jaw bones to work with, it is difficult to precisely gauge the overall size of this animal.

“But the bones we have are just a few centimeters smaller than the equivalent ones in the largest T. rex specimen, so there is no doubt that Zhuchengtyrannus was huge,” Hone said.

“It can be distinguished from other tyrannosourines by a combination of unique features in the skull not seen in any other theropods,” he says.
Hone notes that only five carnivorous theropods so far discovered have been any bigger.

For the record, Dr. Hone has a blog called

It was a carnivore with huge powerful jaws, running on strong back legs, with puny front limbs.

Reported in the journal Cretaceous Research.

A key member of the international team of scientists involved in the study was Professor Xu Xing of the Beijing Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in China; he is a world leader in describing new dinosaur species, having named more than 30 dinosaurs.

Tyrannosaurines are a specialised group of gigantic theropods - a group of dinosaurs that likely evolved into modern birds. [Whoa! hold on there Matt Walker, Editor from Earth News!I can't really find a source, but I'm pretty that Tyrannosaurids are as dead an end of evolution as there is - please see the below image. You can see that tyrannosaurids go off into their own cul-de-sac, while birds continue to migrate out into the future. Just sayin']

Giant prehistoric dinosaur cousin of T. rex identified
Bones of massive meat-eating T. rex "cousin" discovered
New dino in same league as T. rex
New dinosaur closely related to the T. rex discovered by scientists


Anonymous said...

The last graphic makes no sense. Evolution is a contentious flow, like a river. Which the graphic depicts, however using this graphic the AVES have been around since the start and the other dinosaurs branched off and died.

Which makes no sense evolutionarily.

Obviously the AVES came from something. From this graph what did they evolve from? You can't tell.

The graph is crap. And highly simplifies a quite complex thing as evolution.

Rogers said...

Arguing that the AVES "obviously .. came from something" doesn't necessarily argue in favour that they are direct descendants of tyrannosaurines, no matter how "fluid" evolution is, nor how "crap" the graph is.

I can't conceive that massive theropods shrank down and completely altered their basic form to become birds, while other much more avian-like species, like the raptors, are being overlooked by the author.