Saturday, 28 March, 2020


This word means: Thanatotheristes, reaper of death

First new Canadian tyrannosaur species in 50 years identified by Alberta researchers New 'reaper of death' Tyrannosaur species discovered in Canada
Kristine Garrett | 13 February, 2020, 02:11

A fearsome lizard with a name meaning "reaper of death" is the first new tyrannosaur species to be identified in Canada in 50 years, say researchers with the University of Calgary and the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

The specimen was discovered by Jared Voris, a PhD student at Calgary, and is the first new tyrannosaur species found for 50 years in Canada.

Tyrannosaurs were large predatory dinosaurs that lived tens of millions of years ago. This particular species was 26.2 to 30 feet long and weighed about two tons when it was fully grown.

"Thanatotheristes degrootorum provides scientists with insights into the tyrannosaur family tree, and shows that tyrannosaurs from the Cretaceous of Alberta were more diverse than previously known".

Its genus name Thanatotheristes is derived from Thanatos, which means "Greek god of death", and theristes, which means "one who reaps or harvests". The second part of the name is in honor of De Groot.

Sandra De Groot added: "John always said that one day he would find a dinosaur skull".

Anyone who finds a fossil should leave it where it is, note its exact location and contact the museum, he said.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology houses one of the world's largest displays of dinosaurs and is Canada's only museum dedicated exclusively to the study of ancient life.

Those vertical ridges along the upper jaw, which look like gnarly scars made of bone in the above illustration of T. degrootorum-as well as all of the other, apparently significant yet still esoteric physical differences such as a "rounded and inflated orbital margin of the jugal"-is what sets the new species apart from others belonging to the family, Tyrannosauridae".

He told Live Science this discovery demonstrates that tyrannosaurs "weren't all colossal hypercarnivores like T. rex, but there were many subgroups that had their own domains and their own unique body types and probably hunting styles".

Known contemporaries of Thanatotheristes also discovered in Alberta include the horned dinosaur Xenoceratops and dome-headed dinosaur Colepiocephale.

The researchers have carbon dated the fossils all the way back a casual 79.5 million years old, which is 2.5 million years older than its closest relative.

Thanatotheristes highlights diversity, not only in Canada's fossil record, but the tyrannosaur family as well.

"Alberta has a rich dinosaur history, and we have uncovered some of the biggest finds on Earth here in the province", Dr. François Therrien, the curator of Dinosaur Palaeoecology at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, said in a statement.

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