Scientists recently identified a new species of dinosaur related to the Tyrannosaurus rex, more than three years after its fossils were discovered at a construction site in Jiangxi province, Wall Street Journal reports.
A recent report in Nature Communications identified the fossils as belonging to a 30-foot-long Qianzhousaurus sinensis, described as “a remarkable new species of long-snouted tyrannosaurid” that lived nearly 70 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period.
The dinosaur’s discovery goes back to 2010, when workers in Ganzhou city, Jiangxi province came across some large fossils in a construction site (Ganzhou was formerly known as Qianzhou, hence the dino’s name).
Two fossils were discovered, one being an egg-stealing dinosaur called an oviraptorosaurus.
“The tyrannosaurid may have been preparing to eat the other dinosaur when a major geological event happened, and they both died and were buried and preserved like this,” the Ganzhou Daily newspaper had quoted a well-known paleontologist, Dong Zhiming, as saying.
The fossils were collected and remained un-investigated until they were presented to a new natural history museum in Ganzhou.
By January 2013, the larger creature had been reassembled by Chinese scientists and the results were unusual. The creature’s skull, which had managed to stay virtually intact, was over three feet long, and along its snout were several horns. The paleontologist, Dong, said the fossil was unlike anything identified to date.
Scientists had found similar, juvenile, fossils previously in Mongolia, but the most recent fossilized skeleton has confirmed the existence of the Qianzhousaurus.
“The iconic tyrannosaurids were top predators in Asia and North America during the latest Cretaceous” the Nature Communications report said, “and most species had deep skulls that allowed them to generate extreme bite forces”.
Scientists dubbed Qianzhousaurus “Pinocchio rex” for its slimmer, longer snout.
Dong said that the find was sure to “stun the world”, WSJ reported, although so far, there’s been little media coverage of it in China.
Previously on Shanghaiist: 3600-year-old cheese found in Chinese mummies’ tombs
[Image Credit: Chuang Zhao via National Geographic]