In a groundbreaking revelation, researchers from the University of Bath have unearthed the remains of what they believe to be the ‘primitive cousins’ of the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex in Morocco. These prehistoric beings, part of the Abelisauridae family, were carnivorous dinosaurs that in many ways mirrored their tyrannosaur counterparts in the Northern Hemisphere. Remarkably, these ancient relatives also appear to have shared the T.Rex’s distinctive trait of minuscule arms, with fossil analysis indicating that their arms were even shorter, and possessed short, bulldog-like snouts.
The discovery of these two new species in the vicinity of Casablanca takes us back to a time just before the cataclysmic asteroid hit Earth 66 million years ago, triggering the extinction of dinosaurs. One species, identified near the town of Sidi Daoui, is represented by a foot bone from a predator about 8ft long. The other, discovered in Sidi Chennane, is represented by a shin bone of a carnivore that grew up to 15ft long. These findings challenge our understanding of dinosaur biodiversity and habitat, as they were found in marine beds, a locale not traditionally associated with dinosaur fossils.
T.Rex’s ‘Cousins’ Discovered in Morocco: A Glimpse into the Past
A recent study has unearthed fascinating details about the Tyrannosaurus rex’s ‘primitive cousins’. Researchers from the University of Bath have discovered the remains of these ancient creatures, which belong to the Abelisauridae family, in Morocco. This discovery provides a unique look into the life of the carnivorous dinosaurs that lived alongside the tyrannosaurs of the Northern Hemisphere.
A Unique Family Trait
Analysis of the fossilised remains reveals an intriguing trait. These ancient dinosaurs had short, bulldog-like snouts – and even shorter arms than the T.Rex, a well-known characteristic of the King of Dinosaurs. These fossils were found just outside of Casablanca, dating back to just before the cataclysmic asteroid strike that is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.
Two New Species Unearthed
Among the remains, the researchers have identified two new species. One species is represented by a foot bone from a predator about 8ft (2.5 metres) long, found near the town of Sidi Daoui. The other, from nearby Sidi Chennane, is the shin bone of a carnivore that grew to around 15ft (five metres) long. The discovery of these species in marine beds, an environment teeming with plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, and sharks, was unexpected.
A Diverse Dinosaur Fauna
So far, the researchers have discovered five different species of dinosaur in the region. This includes a small duckbill dinosaur named Ajnabia, a long-necked titanosaur, the giant abelisaur Chenanisaurus, and the recently discovered two new abelisaurs. Dr Nick Longrich, who led the study, shared that there are other fossils currently under study, indicating the amazing diversity of dinosaur fauna in the region.
North African Dinosaur Thriving Ground
The findings suggest that many dinosaurs thrived in North Africa right up until the asteroid strike 66 million years ago. Abelisaurs sat at the top of the food chains in North Africa when T. rex reigned as a megapredator in North America according to Professor Nour-Eddine Jalil, co-author on the paper.
This discovery provides a fascinating insight into the biodiversity of the dinosaur era. The presence of such a diverse range of dinosaur species in marine environments challenges our understanding of dinosaur habitats. Furthermore, the discovery of these T.Rex’s ‘primitive cousins’ highlights the potential for further discoveries in regions previously unexplored or under-studied. The world of these ancient creatures continues to intrigue and surprise us, underlining the importance of continued research into our planet’s prehistoric past.