Researchers Discover New Type Of Tyrannosaurus And Name It 'Reaper Of Death'
The people that get to come up with names for things they discover always have to weigh up all their options. Do they go with their own name? Do they describe it exactly how it is? Or do they go rogue and just name it something really cool?
All are acceptable options but rarely do people pick the last option...except maybe for a couple of researchers that just found a new type of tyrannosaurus.
Palaeontologists dusted off the very old fossils of a Thanatotheristes degrootorum found in Alberta, Canada, which is the first new type of T-Rex discovered in the country in 50 years.
When they were deciding what to call this fantastic new beast, they went with something as menacing as one could imagine.
The first part of the name, Thanatotheristes, is a combination of the Thanatos, the Greek god of death, and theristes, which means to reap or harvest.
As a result, this bad boy has been named the Reaper of Death. T-Rex's are terrifying enough but when you've got a nickname like this then you'll definitely be running for the hills. Thankfully these creatures are very long dead.
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The researchers have carbon dated the fossils all the way back a casual 79.5 million years old, which is 2.5 million years older than its closest relative.
Curator of Dinosaur Palaeoecology at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Dr. François Therrien, said: "We are thrilled to announce the first new species of tyrannosaur to be discovered in Canada in 50 years. This discovery is significant because it fills in a gap in our understanding of tyrannosaur evolution."
CBC's Emily Chung reported that when it was discovered, it was 'as long as two cars lined up bumper to bumper' and 'would have towered over an adult human', standing 'about 2.4 meters tall at the hips'.
The second part of the name doesn't relate to the dinosaur's ability to end your life but instead is dedicated to the man who found the fossils. Farmer and palaeontology enthusiast John De Groot came across the fossil skull fragments while hiking near Hays, Alberta.
"The jawbone was an absolutely stunning find. We knew it was special because you could clearly see the fossilised teeth," he told the Royal Tyrell Museum.
Sandra De Groot added: "John always said that one day he would find a dinosaur skull. Finding the jaw was exciting. Hearing that it is a new species, and seeing it given our family name, was beyond belief."
The exciting find has been published by researchers from the University of Calgary and the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in the journal Cretaceous Research
Featured Image Credit: Universal Pictures