New Dino Discovery Unearths T-Rex Evolution

Photo Credit: Lukas Panzarin

A recently discovered dinosaur skeleton has piqued the interest of paleontologists and Tyrannosaurus rex fans worldwide. The new dinosaurLythronax argestes, is a relative of the T-rex, appearing 10 million years before scientists previously believed dinosaurs like the T-rex roamed the Earth.

Mark Loewen / Natural History Museum of Utah via AP
The Lythronax argestes skeleton at the Natural History Museum of Utah. Mark Loewen / AP (DINOSAURS)

The fossilized remains were found in Utah in 2009 and paleontologists have been studying them ever since, comparing them to other fossils around the world.

In a study published in PLOS ONE, it is now confirmed that the dinosaur is a new species from 95 million years ago.

The fossils were found by the Bureau of Land Management in an area that has produced some of the oldest known fossils, including the oldest remains of a triceratops.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument may hold more secrets as only a small fraction of the area has been searched for fossils.

The paleontologist overseeing the national monument told the Associated Press,

“We are just getting started. We have a really big sandbox to play in.”

Lythronax means “king of gore,” and argestes refers to the poet Homer’s southwest wind. Photo Credit: Lukas Panzarin (DINOSAURS)
Lythronax means “king of gore,” and argestes refers to the poet Homer’s southwest wind.. Photo Credit: Lukas Panzarin (DINOSAURS)

The Lythronax argestes was the largest predatory dinosaur during the Late Cretaceous Period. While similar to the T-rex, this species of dinosaur was slightly smaller but still weighed almost three tons.

The information gleaned from this skeleton as well as other fossils in the area have given paleontologists a new view of the T-rex, their relatives, and their evolution.

The skeleton is now a feature of the Natural History Museum of Utah.

— Elana Pisani, exclusive to Global Animal