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New fossil discovery sheds light on T.rex’s earliest known relative

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A new study published in Scientific Reports reshapes our understanding of how the most famous dinosaur to ever walk the earth – Tyrannosaurus rex – first arrived in North America by introducing its earliest known relative on the continent.

The study identifies a newly discovered subspecies of tyrannosaur known as Tyrannosaurus mcraeensis. The newly discovered predator is older and more primitive than its better-known cousin, but just as large – roughly the size of a double-decker bus.

The study was based on a partial skull collected years ago from western New Mexico, currently on display at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (NMMNHS), which shows that Tyrannosaurus was in North America millions of years before paleontologists previously thought.

Contributing authors on the study include researchers from the University of Bath (UK), NMMNHS, University of Utah, The George Washington University, Harrisburg University, Penn State Lehigh Valley, and the University of Alberta.

“New Mexicans have always known our state is special, now we know that New Mexico has been a special place for tens of millions of years,” Dr. Fiorillo, Executive Director of NMMNHS said. “This study delivers on the mission of this museum through the science-based investigation of the history of life on our planet.”


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