Friday, April 01, 2011

Zhuchengtyrannus magnus, A New Tyrannosaur from China

A new, large tyrannosaurine theropod from the Upper Cretaceous of China. 2011. D. Hone, et al. Cretaceous Research, in press.

Image by Robert Nicholls
The newly named dinosaur species Zhuchengtyrannus magnus probably measured about 11 metres long, stood about 4 metres tall, and weighed close to 6 tonnes. Comparable in size and scale to the legendary T. rex, this new dinosaur is one of the largest theropod (carnivorous) dinosaurs ever identified by scientists.

"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 centimetres smaller than the equivalent ones in the largest T. rex specimen. So there is no doubt that Zhuchengtyrannus was a huge tyrannosaurine."

"We named the new genus Zhuchengtyrannus magnus - which means the 'Tyrant from Zhucheng' - because the bones were found in the city of Zhucheng, in eastern China's Shandong Province," says Dr Hone.

Together with nearby sites, the quarry in Shandong Province, eastern China where the remains of this huge carnivore were found contains one of the largest concentrations of dinosaur bones in the world. Most of the specimens recovered from the quarry belong to a gigantic species of hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur. Research suggests that the area contains so many dinosaur fossils because it was a large flood plain where many dinosaur bodies were washed together during floods and fossilised. link