News / Science & Technology

Fossils of Miniature T. Rex Found in Arctic

FILE - Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur replica at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington
FILE - Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur replica at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington
Jessica Berman
Paleontologists have unearthed the fossilized remains of a pygmy Tyrannosaurus rex in northern Alaska. The prehistoric creature, which roamed the Arctic some 70 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period, was about half the size of its fearsome first cousin farther to the south.

Most cars weigh more than Nanuqsaurus, whose name means “polar bear lizard” in the Alaskan Inupiat language.

When fully grown, scientists estimate the size of the dinosaur formally known as Nanuqsaurus hoglundi to have been around six meters long, weighing a mere 450 kilograms. Paleontologists say the pygmy T. rex was the spitting image of its enormous first cousin, the giant tyrannosaur, which was twice the size of Nanuqsaurus.

A skull section and upper and lower jaw bones belonging to the pygmy T. rex were discovered by paleontologists with the Perot Museum in Dallas, Texas in the southeastern U.S. They found fossils of the mini tyrannosaur while unearthing the remains of another previously unknown, tiny, horned dinosaur.

Anthony Fiorillo spotted the bones of Nanuqsaurus in a four-by-four meter excavation site in the Prince Creek Formation in Alaska’s North Slope above the Arctic Circle.

“I am absolutely thrilled by this discovery. And the fact that we found not one, but two brand new animals in the very same hole in the ground is absolutely mind-boggling to me,” he said.

The discovery of Nanuqsaurus did not come as a total surprise to paleontologists. They had suspected the existence of a carnivorous predator in the Arctic because of teeth marks on the bones of the horned dinosaur, which was probably a rare treat for the pygmy T. Rex.

Matt Lamanna is assistant curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Because the Arctic region is cloaked in darkness for half the year, Lamanna says there probably was not much for the tiny Nanuqsaurus to eat.

“There was evolutionary pressure on it to develop small size because the environment it was living in probably would have had less food, consistently available food, than environments further south that were far less seasonal that ... didn’t have long periods of darkness and long periods of light,” said Lamanna.

Experts say Nanuqsaurus was not  the only prehistoric animal that adapted to isolated environments; on a remote Russian Arctic coast island, mammoths the size of cows wandered around.

Anthony Fiorillo and colleagues describe their discovery of the pygmy Tyrannosaur in the journal PLoS ONE.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs