Newly Discovered Tyrannosaur Was Key to the Rise of Giant Meat-Eaters

by Riley Black/Smithsonianmag.com

Paleontologists are uncovering tyrannosaurs at a fast and furious pace. The classic Tyrannosaurus rex may remain the most famous of all, but, in the last year alone, experts have described the bones of pipsqueaks that were far from the top of the food chain, leggy predators that lived in the shadow of other carnivorous giants, and short-snouted species that stalked the floodplains of the ancient west over 10 million years before the tyrant lizard king itself.

Now the University of Calgary paleontologist Darla Zelenitsky has added another dinosaur to the tyrannosaur family, and this particular flesh-ripper reveals a surprise about the early days of the ferocious family.

The tyrannosaurs that roamed North America during the last 10 million years of the Cretaceous were large, impressive animals with equally menacing names. Dinosaurs such as GorgosaurusAlbertosaurusDaspletosaurus and Tyrannosaurus itself became rock stars thanks to multiple, well-preserved skeletons found from sites in Montana and the Dakotas, as well as the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

But in the past ten years, paleontologists have begun announcing even older tyrannosaurs found much farther south, among the roughly 80 million-year-old rocks of Utah and New Mexico. There didn’t seem to be any tyrannosaurs from rocks of similar age to the north. Until now.

Biography
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.

She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – two daughters-in-law; Suzy and Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, two rescue pups, and two guinea pigs.

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