2021-09-10

Who was the strongest before Tyrannosaurus? Dinosaur fossils reveal new top predators

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Who was the strongest before Tyrannosaurus? Dinosaur fossils reveal new top predators

In a new study published in the “Royal Society Open Science”, a research team led by the University of Tsukuba described a new genus and species that belonged to Carcharodon, a group of medium to large carnivorous dinosaurs, was the top predator before Tyrannosaurus.

This new dinosaur, named Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis, was discovered in the Upper Cretaceous Lower Bisekty formation in the Kyzylkum Desert, Uzbekistan, and therefore lived about 90 million years ago. Two independent evolutionary analyses support the classification of this new dinosaur as the first clear carcharodon discovered in the Upper Cretaceous in Central Asia.

“The first author of the research report, Assistant Professor Kohei Tanaka, explained: “We describe this new genus and species based on a single fossil, a left upper mandible or upper mandible. “In theropod dinosaurs, the size of the maxilla can be used to estimate the size of the animal, because it is related to the length of the femur, which is a recognized indicator of body size. Therefore, we can estimate the size of a dinosaur like Uzbekistan. The mass is more than 1000 kilograms and the length is about 7.5 to 8.0 meters, which is greater than the length of an adult African elephant.

This size greatly exceeds any other known carnivores in the Bisekti formation, including The small-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex Timurlengia described in the same strata. Therefore, the newly named dinosaur is likely to be at the top of the food web in its early Late Cretaceous ecosystem.

Ulughbegsaurus (Ulughbegsaurus) ) Was named after the mathematician, astronomer of the Timurian Empire in Central Asia in the 15th century, and Ulugberg, Sultan. The species was named after the country where the fossil was found.

Before the Late Cretaceous , Carcharodon like Ulugbergosaurus disappeared on ancient continents including Central Asia. This disappearance is thought to be related to the rise of Tyrannosaurus rex as a top predator, but due to the scarcity of related fossils, The understanding of this transition is still not deep.

Professor Yoshitsugu Kobayashi, a senior author at the Hokkaido University Museum, explained: “The discovery of Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis fills an important gap in the fossil record, revealing that Carcharodon is from It exists widely on the continent from Europe to East Asia. As one of the latest surviving dinosaurs in Laurasia, this large carnivore coexisted with the smaller Tyrannosaurus rex, revealing an important constraint on the transition of the top carnivore in the Late Cretaceous. “