London - Scientists have discovered a new member of the Tyrannosaurus rex family and nicknamed it Pinnocchio rex because of its long snout, Edinburgh University said on Wednesday.
The new specimen, officially named Qianzhousaurus sinensis, was discovered near the city of Ganzhou in southern China, and is believed to have lived more than 66 million years ago.
“This is a different breed of tyrannosaur,” said Steve Brusatte, a palaeontologist at the university and co-author of a study on the new dinosaur published in Nature Communications.
“It has the familiar toothy grin of T rex, but its snout was much longer and it had a row of horns on its nose. It might have looked a little comical, but it would have been as deadly as any other tyrannosaur, and maybe even a little faster and stealthier,” he said. Until the discovery of the dinosaur remains, which scientists said were particularly well preserved, palaeontologists had been unsure of the existence of the long-snouted T rex.
The remains of two specimens with elongated heads found previously were too juvenile to ascertain whether they were a new breed or would go on to develop the more typical T rex features.
The scientists said the different breeds of T rex would have lived alongside one another but targeted different prey, and so would not have been in direct competition.
The new find was very important, said Junchang Lu of the Institute of Geology, Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, because it showed that the long-snouted tyrannosaurs were widely distributed across Asia.
“Although we are only starting to learn about them, the long-snouted tyrannosaurs were apparently one of the main groups of predatory dinosaurs in Asia,” he said. - Sapa-dpa