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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid