'Reaper of Death' Tyrannosaur That Was Close Relative of T. Rex Discovered

First new Canadian tyrannosaur species in 50 years identified by Alberta researchers

First new Canadian tyrannosaur species in 50 years identified by Alberta researchers

The new species is named Thanatotheristes degrootorum, which combines the Greek word for "reaper of death" with the name of a southern Alberta couple, the DeGroots, who happened upon the fossil fragments along the shore of the Bow River west of Medicine Hat, Alta., in 2010.

Artist's illustration of Thanatotheristes degrootorum.

It seems that Voris wasn't expecting to find a new species of tyrannosaur, but rather stumbled across it as he was cataloging fossils at the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Tyrannosaurs, or "tyrant lizards", were the dominant predators on land for millions of years before the extinction of dinosaurs some 65 million years ago.

The newly discovered, monster-like animal also had vertical ridges that ran from its eyes to its nose, a feature that Voris said to Live Science "are not like anything we've ever seen before in other tyrannosaur species".

"The jawbone was an absolutely stunning find", said John.

"This group had longer, deeper snouts and more teeth in the upper jaws than tyrannosaurs found in the southern US, which had shorter, bulldog-like faces", said Jared Voris, a Ph.D. student at the University of Calgary.

When they lived, tyrannosaurs (including the Tyrannosaurus rex) were large predatory theropod dinosaurs.

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She says Voris' keen eye recognized the new species and earned him the right to name it.

"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.

A new species of tyrannosaurus was found in Canada.

An approximate location of where De Groot discovered the T. degrootorum fossils.

"So we went to the site and measured the stratigraphic section to describe the rock record where the specimen is from in order to determine the age of what that specimen was", said Therrien.

The dinosaur predates its more famous relative Tyrannosaurus rex - and is the oldest known tyrannosaur found in Canada. Do you think it really deserves the name "Reaper of Death", or should a name that aggressive be reserved for one of the larger species of the Tyrannosauridae family?

An article detailing Thanatotheristes degrootorus and written by Voris, Zelenitsky, Therrien and paleontologist Caleb Brown, was published Monday in the journal Cretaceous Research. "Most places - like in the States - if you have one, two, maybe three tyrannosaurs you're very lucky".

Alberta's rugged and bare landscape has made it one of the top five places in the world for dinosaur fossils.

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