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Qianzhousaurus skull discovered in China


This image shows two individuals of Qianzhousaurus sinensis and a small feathered dinosaur called Nankangia. Image credit: Chuang Zhao.

This image shows two individuals of Qianzhousaurus sinensis and a small feathered dinosaur called Nankangia. Image credit: Chuang Zhao.

Paleontologists have made an exciting discovery near the city of Ganzhou, in southern China – the near complete fossil remains of a skull in a site that dates back to the Cretaceous period. The skull belongs to a dinosaur that has been scientifically designated Qianzhousaurus sinensis, a long-snouted species that belongs to the same species of Tyrannosaurus rex (Tyrannosauridae) that would have lived in Asia some 66 and 72 million years ago.

Nicknamed “Pinocchio rex” by researchers, this creature would have measured about 9 m from snout to tail, had an elongated skull and had long teeth compared with the deeper, more powerful jaws and thick teeth of a conventional Tyrannosaurus. From all of this, they have theorised that although sinensis lived alongside rex during the Cretaceous period, they would most likely have hunted different prey and not been in direct competition with one another.

Dr Steve Brusatte from the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences explained in the paper he co-authored, which was recently published in the journal Nature Communications:

“This is a different breed of tyrannosaur. It has the familiar toothy grin of Tyrannosaurus rex, but its snout was much longer and it had a row of horns on its nose. It might have looked a little comical, but it would have been as deadly as any other tyrannosaur, and maybe even a little faster and stealthier.”

Following the discovery, the palaeontologists have created a new branch of the tyrannosaur family for specimens with very long snouts, and they expect more dinosaurs to be added to the group as excavations in Asia continue to identify new species. The lead author of the paper, Professor Junchang Lü from the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, explained as follows:

“The new discovery is very important. Along with Alioramus from Mongolia, it shows that the long-snouted tyrannosaurids were widely distributed in Asia. Although we are only starting to learn about them, the long-snouted tyrannosaurs were apparently one of the main groups of predatory dinosaurs in Asia.”

Source: Nature Communications – A new clade of Asian Late Cretaceous long-snouted tyrranosaurids
Source: Sci-News – Qianzhousaurus sinensis: Long-Snouted Tyrannosaur Discovered in China
 

About storiesbywilliams

Matt Williams is a professional writer, science fiction author, Taekwon-Do instructor, and the curator of the Guide to Space at Universe Today. His articles have been featured on Popular Mechanics, Business Insider, Gizmodo, IO9, and HeroX. His first published novels, The Cronian Incident and The Jovian Manifesto, were published by Castrum Press. He lives with his wife and family on Vancouver Island in beautiful British Columbia.

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One thought on “Qianzhousaurus skull discovered in China

  1. Reblogged this on Stories by Williams and commented:
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    Posted by storiesbywilliams | May 19, 2014, 2:01 am

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