Long-Nosed Dino Was No Fluke

Chuang Zhao

ScienceShot: Long-Nosed Dino Was No Fluke

In the 1970s, a relatively small, long-nosed dinosaur was discovered in Mongolia. Some paleontologists claimed it was an unusual member of the tyrannosaurid family—which includes the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex—but many researchers were skeptical. Then, in 2009, paleontologists published details of a very similar specimen also found in Mongolia. Yet other researchers pointed out that both specimens were juveniles, and the long noses might just be a growth phase they were going through on their way to becoming typical tyrannosaurids, with tall, deep skulls and crushing jaws and teeth. But a new discovery of a much more complete adult specimen, published online today in Nature Communications and pictured here in an artist’s reconstruction, may quiet the skeptics. Qianzhousaurus sinensis (named after Qianzhou, the ancient name of the city of Ganzhou where it was discovered, and sin, from the Greek word for China), is an adult and lived until about 66 million years ago, just before most dinosaurs went extinct; but it still has the long nose and other features of the two other specimens. Moreover, because the new dino, which at an estimated 757 kilograms weighed about one-tenth as much as T. rex, was found 3000 kilometers away in China’s Jiangxi province, the team concludes that long-nosed tyrannosaurids were not just a fluke, but rather a major group of dinos with a wide geographical distribution.

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Posted in Paleontology, Plants & Animals