Tyrannosaurus Rex is widely considered the most deadly dinosaurs ever roamed planet earth, and stories about this ferocious creature have been depicted in countless books and films including 'Jurassic Park'. Now a team of researchers at the Virginia Tech University has discovered a relative of this killer beast and they have named it Suskityrannus hazelae.
Interestingly, this Tyrannosaurus relative is not as tall as Rex, and it stood roughly three feet tall at the hip and was about nine feet in length. It should be noted that the entire size of this animal is only marginally longer than the skull of a fully grown Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Experts believe that a fully grown Suskityrannus hazelae might have weighed between 45 to 90 pounds, while a Tyrannosaurus Rex is roughly nine tons. Even though the size of these two dinosaurs is pretty different, their diet seems very similar. Just like Tyrannosaurus Rex, its relative used to hunt small animals, although what it hunted remains unknown. Bone analysis of the fossil discovered by Sterling Nesbitt, an assistant professor with the Department of Geosciences in the Virginia Tech College of Science revealed that the dinosaur was at least three years old.
Researchers also revealed that Suskityrannus hazelae roamed on earth at least 92 million years ago, a time when the planet was ruled by some of the most ferocious dinosaurs.
"Suskityrannus gives us a glimpse into the evolution of tyrannosaurs just before they take over the planet. It also belongs to a dinosaurian fauna that just proceeds the iconic dinosaurian faunas in the latest Cretaceous that include some of the most famous dinosaurs, such as the Triceratops, predators like Tyrannosaurus rex, and duckbill dinosaurs like Edmotosaurus, " said Nesbitt in a recently issued press release.
Interestingly, the fossils were discovered by Nesbitt when he was a high school junior, and until now, the researchers were not sure about the significance of these fossils in paleontology.
A few months back, a team of researchers had discovered the 80-million-year old relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex in New Mexico, and they later named it Dynamoterror.