Dinosaur: Crocodile-like Predator found in Montana is huge carnivore | Nature | News


A NEW dinosaur dug out of the badlands of Montana has changed the face of T Rex

The predatory beast was almost as big as the largest carnivore ever to stalk the Earth.

And it had features just like a crocodile’s – meaning its famous cousin would have looked the same.

Its head was covered by a mask of large, flat scales with regions of armour like skin on the snout and jaws.

Ornamental horns behind the eye were covered by keratin, the hard and shiny material that makes human fingernails.

And the creature, about 30 feet long and more than seven feet tall had no lips – making T Rex even uglier than we even imagined.

The snout would also have been as sensitive to touch as a hand – not that any animal would have been mad enough to stroke it.

The discovery is groundbreaking because it fills a gap in the fossil record of tyrannosaurs.


The discovery is groundbreaking because it fills a gap in the fossil record of tyrannosaurs

The species, named Daspletosaurus horneri, meaning ‘Frightful Lizard’, evolved directly from its older relative, D. torosus, a rare form of evolution called anagenesis where one species gradually morphs into a new one.

The armour-like skin would have protected tyrannosaurs from abrasions

Dr Thomas Carr

Remains from both adults and juveniles were so well preserved scientists were even able to reconstruct the nerves and arteries of the extinct animal. They were roaming the planet around 75 million years ago when they died.

The trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for feeling sensation in the face, as well as biting and chewing, resembled a human’s, according to the findings published in Scientific Reports.

Biologist Dr Thomas Carr, of Carthage College, Wisconsin, said: “It turns out tyrannosaurs are identical to crocodylians in that the bones of their snouts and jaws are rough, except for a narrow band of smooth bone along the tooth row.


The huge bones…

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