Tyrannosaurus rex’s beastly size and ferocious teeth have captured our awe for ages, but one of his relatives may not have been so terrifying. Scientists have discovered a 70-million-year-old fossil in Alaska that’s similar to tyrannosaurids, the family of dinosaurs that includes the Tyrannosaurus. The dinosaur was dubbed Nanuqsaurus hoglundi—where Nanugsaurus stands for polar bear lizard and hoglundi is in recognition of Forrest Hoglund, who had a career in earth sciences and led philanthropic efforts to further cultural institutions. Compared with the 152.4-centimeter skull of the T. rex, N. hoglundi had an adult skull estimated at 63.5 centimeters. The researchers, whose work was published today in PLOS ONE, believe the small body size may reflect the dinosaur’s adaptation to the setting it lived in up north, where extreme seasonal changes occurred that could lead to limited food resources.
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