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Newly discovered dinosaur predated tyrannosaurs — and at the time was a bigger apex predator

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Newly discovered dinosaur predated tyrannosaurs — and at the time was a bigger apex predator

A beforehand unknown species may become another allotment in the puzzle of how tyrannosaurs took over and dominated Asia and North America for millennia. 

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The Ulughbegsaurus, a beforehand unknown apex predator, would have been worthy larger than a small species of tyrannosaur that existed at the time. (Julius Csotonyi)

It be roughly 90 million years ago, the Cretaceous length, and continents have begun to rift apart. 

A small tyrannosaur — roughly the measurement of a large horse — pals thru the ferns in what would now be Uzbekistan, listening for any signal of prey to tear into with its blade-appreciate enamel.

However the tyrannosaur’s time hasn’t approach yet; there’s peaceful a larger apex predator ruling the jungle — a beforehand unknown species that may become another allotment in the puzzle of how tyrannosaurs took over and dominated Asia and North America for millennia. 

Darla Zelenitsky, associate professor of dinosaur paleobiology at the College of Calgary, worked with researchers from Canada, Japan and Uzbekistan to identify a new species of carcharodontosaur — large, carnivorous dinosaurs with shark-appreciate enamel. They announced their discovery in the Royal Society Initiate Science journal on Tuesday. 

Kohei Tanaka and Darla Zelenitsky have authored a paper announcing their discovery of a new dinosaur species. (College of Calgary)

The new species, Ulughbegsaurus (pronounced oo-LOOG-bek-SAW-rus), was named after 15th century astronomer and mathematician Ulugh Beg, who lived in the state. 

Fancy an early tyrannosaur, this carnivore would have walked on two legs, with a large head, brief forelimbs and sharp claws. However that’s the place the similarities ended. An Ulughbegsaurus would have weighed around 1,000 kilograms and stretched more than 7.5 metres from nose to tail.

“It may well have been the largest carnivorous predator of the ecosystem at that time,” said Zelenitsky, who explained that the small tyrannosaurs that lived in the path of the same length would have been one-fifth of the bigger animal’s body mass.

The fossil fragments of the newly discovered Ulughbegsaurus had been came upon in Uzbekistan. (Tanaka et al. 2021)

While it’s no longer identified what caused them to die out, the disappearance of carcharodontosaurs from the ecosystem may have helped enabled tyrannosaurs to develop larger and into their dominant predator feature. 

“We obtain no longer know why carcharodontosaurs went extinct around 90 million years ago … [or] exactly how tyrannosaurs became apex predators that we contemplate, appreciate tyrannosaurus rex, later on in the Cretaceous,” she said.

“This window of the dinosaur fossil account is fairly shadowy … will have to you have got purchased a window of time that’s very poorly identified for fossils, you may wisely be always excellent attempting to occupy in gaps.

“And right here is one more gap that we had been able to occupy in, because right here is the latest prevalence of one among these shark-enamel dinosaurs.”

A carcharodontosaur skeleton is pictured on the left, in comparison with a tyrannosaur skeleton on the suitable. (Darla Zelenitsky)

The new species was acknowledged in part via bone fragments and enamel originally came upon in the 1980s by a Russian paleontologist as part of the Bissekty rock formation in the Kyzylkum Barren state.

It was saved in Uzbekistan’s state geological museum till a few years ago when Kohei Tanaka, the paper’s lead author, came upon an upper jaw in the formation and realized it belonged to a roughly predator that hadn’t been came upon in the area earlier than.

“I was roughly greatly surprised because … the fossils from this formation have been wisely studied,” Zelenitsky said. 

A reconstruction displays the upper jaw of the Ulughbegsaurus. (Dinosaur Valley Studios)

However the formation is largely crammed with fragmented fossils, in contrast to the stout skeletons that are more basic in fossil beds in Alberta. And the discovery of a new carnivorous dinosaur appreciate right here is incredibly rare. 

“If we’re taking a seek at dinosaurs that are youthful than 100 million years, so in the 66-million- to 100-million-year window, there’s most efficient three species of this variety of dinosaur [a carcharodontosaur] identified from Asia.”

Zelenitsky is hoping the discovery will unlock more information from that length. 

“There is the possibility in the future, now that we all know this species existed in that ecosystem, that we can bag more of this animal and identify it.”

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Newly discovered dinosaur predated tyrannosaurs — and at the time was a bigger apex predator