Updated | Hell Creek, Montana, was definitely hellish for a dinosaur that died 66.5 million years ago – but the place was heaven for the team of scientists who stumbled over the remains of this dinosaur in the summer of 2016.
Discovered the copy That was a long process – the diggers did not really know what they had found until they could return the following summer and find the 2 meter long, toothy skull that told them it was a tyrannosaur and one in fair condition. They announced the discovery on Thursday, although it has not yet been published in a scientific journal.
"This is a one-hundred-million-copy," Kyle Atkins-Weltman, an assistant for fossil taxidermists at the University of Kansas, who works
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The search for such a well-preserved small tyrannosaur released the team's interest over the small tyrannosaur. It turns out they are quite controversial. Over the years scientists have found a handful of fossils that look like they may be remnants of very young Tyrannosaurus rex individuals. But for three decades, other paleontologists have argued that these fossils are actually from a related but different type of dinosaur that they have baptized Nanotyrannus.
But now scientists have not studied enough fossils to solve the dilemma. "We do not have many juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex specimens," said Randall Irmis, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum of Utah, who was not involved in the new discovery, Newsweek. "One third could really make a big difference."
The new specimen, which is about 1
But the team working with the new fossil can not be sure if it represents a young T. rex or a full-grown Nanotyrannus, until they have managed to fully investigate the specimen. Therefore, they are working to compare the skull with other known specimens.
"Paleontology is not just about finding new species," said Imis, adding that scientists need fossils from a whole range of individuals to understand the biology of an animal interacting with other species. "I think the biggest thing is that this really shows why it's important to find multiple specimens of species."
The team will also return to Hell Creek this summer, hoping to find even more pieces of this dinosaur pattern – to study.
This story has been updated to include comments by Randall Irmis.