T. Rex Cousin, Zhuchengtyrannus Magnus, The Great Tyrant From Zhucheng, Discovered In China
T. rex has some tough competition... but at least it's all in the family. A new dinosaur species, comparable in size to the T. rex, was recently uncovered in China.
According to LiveScience, the new species was found in the Chinese city of Zhucheng and thus was named Zhuchengtyrannus magnus, "Great Tyrant from Zhucheng." Ironically, construction workers found the remains while building a museum for other fossils. The fossil quarry, along with nearby sites, contains the largest concentration of dinosaur bones in the world. It is believed that the area was once a floodplain where dinosaur bodies washed together.
Zhuchengtyrannus was a tyrannosaurine, which lived in North America and eastern Asia during the Cretaceous period. This tyrannosaurine, along with the T. rex, belonged to a group of giant theropods known as "beast-footed" dinosaurs, known for their bone-crushing jaws. Estimates suggest Zhuchengtyrannus measured 13 feet tall, 36 feet wide, and weighed over 13,000 pounds... equivalent to the weight of a school bus.
Researcher David Hone told LiveScience, "It's the first China-only tyrannosaurine, and it's one of the biggest ever -- there are only five carnivorous theropods bigger by my count." Hone estimates that the Zhuchengtyrannus is "just a smidge under T-rex-sized," although he can only base his guess on the skull and jaw bones which were found. These findings were detailed in the journal Cretaceous Research.
Wired Magazine reports that one of the key members of the team, Xu Xing, is a famous paleontologist who has uncovered and named over 30 dinosaur species. According to National Geographic, Xu Xing has found feathered specimens which have "challenged the conventional wisdom on what dinosaurs looked like." This recent Zhuchengtyrannus finding perhaps just challenges any beast formerly believed to be the Great Tyrant from Zhucheng.