A team of American paleontologists announces the discovery in Montana of the incredibly well-preserved fossil of a young T-Rex (Tyrannosaurus rex). A discovery that will allow scientists to learn more about the species.
Scientists have so far only discovered a handful of fossils that appear to be the remains of very young Tyrannosaurus rex. But for three decades, other paleontologists have argued that these fossils are in fact derived from a related – but different – type of dinosaur, which they nicknamed Nanotyrannus. Thus, researchers have not studied enough fossils to solve the dilemma.
“We do not have many juvenile specimens of Tyrannosaurus rex,” Randall Irmis of the Utah Natural History Museum told Newsweek. “Having a third fossil could really make a big difference.”
The researchers discovered the remains of the fearsome beast in Montana’s famed Hell Creek formation, a rocky expanse full of dinosaur fossils. Of all Hell Creek’s juvenile T-Rex, this is probably the “best preserved and most complete,” says Kyle Atkins-Weltman, from the University of Kansas Natural History Museum.
The fossil of the young T-Rex was found in June 2016, but the team only had time to dig up the ilium of the dinosaur (the upper part of the iliac bone), with all the teeth intact (some 5 centimeters long), as well as pieces of one of its legs and hips. Excavated rock plates also include an almost complete turtle and pieces of fish and other dinosaurs. The researchers also found the jaw of a placental mammal.
According to early analysis, this young T-Rex would have lived about 67 million years ago. He was probably a little over 5 meters long, and was “maybe 6 or 7 years old, maybe 8,” the researcher notes. As for whether it is really a young T-Rex and not a Nanotyrannus, researchers will probably need more analysis to certify.