A group of British and American paleontologists has discovered a new small species, relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex. The fossils were discovered in 1998, when 16-year-old Sterling Nesbitt, one of the principal authors of the research, was hiking with his institute at a site in New Mexico. For more than eight years, the fossil was kept in the Mesa Natural History Museum, Arizona.
After more than 20 years and with the study of the skull of another dinosaur of the same species that Robert Denton found 22 years ago, the new species has been discovered, Suskityrannus hazelae, which, as the paleontologists of the research claim, could be considered the cousin of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. "It helps us understand how the tyrannosaurs became dominant animals. The Suskityrannus he tells us that the tyrannosaurs were small and humble almost until the end of the Cretaceous, when they suddenly became much larger animals "explains Steve Brusatte, paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh and part of the group of researchers.
The name of the new species, Suskityrannus hazelae, comes from the language of the Zuñi people and is translated as "the coyote tyrant", due to its resemblance to the coyote for being an agile and small predator. The tribe of Native Americans inhabits the lands where the bones were found. "Our team worked with the tribe and asked for permission to use the name. We hope this is a measure of respect for the people who occupied these lands after the dinosaurs, "says Brusatte.
With the fossils found, we can talk about a dinosaur that did not reach a meter high and three meters wide and weighed around 50 kilos. If compared with the Tyrannosaurus rex, it's like the size of the head of this one. In the expedition arms were not found, so it can not be confirmed that it had a resemblance to those of the previous species, however, yes they were a claws of a fairly small size. According to the researchers, the animal could run fast by the length of its legs and, in addition, had the sharp teeth of a carnivorous animal.
This species dates from 92 million years ago, a time of which there are few fossils. It is probably due to the high sea levels that flooded the continents and decreased the conservation potential due to erosion. It also seems that there were certain climatic and environmental changes during this time that affected the animals and could cause some extinctions.
Brusatte talks about the discovery of this new species as a bridge between the oldest, primitive and smallest tyrannosaurs from the Jurassic era, about 170 million years ago, and the great monsters from the end of the Cretaceous, who lived between 84 to 66 million years ago.