Published Date : Nov 25, 2013
Scientists from the Field Museum have discovered a ‘top predator’ dinosaur species in North America. This species is regarded as being a significant ancestral species of the Tyrannosaurus Rex besides significantly adding to the emerging fossil record of the American continent.
The dinosaur that measures around 30 feet, and likely weighed 4 tons, was discovered in an area in Utah that features rocks dating back to a 100 million years. The discovery was made during the museum’s expedition that was led by the museum’s curator of dinosaurs Peter Makovicky and Lindsay Zanno, who was then a postdoctoral fellow at the Field museum.
The species has been named Siats meekerorum after a legendary man-eating monster that features in the tales of the Ute Indian people and the Meeker family that is among the top loyal donors to the museum. The discovery of this dinosaur helps give a clearer picture of the American wildlife that existed millions of years before the Tyrannosaurus Rex became the most dominant predator.
Despite the fact that this animal is the third-largest carnivore found in America thus far, this might not be immediately evident to a lay person given the fact that all components of the skeleton are not intact. However, scientists have been able to infer from certain distinctive features of the bone structure that this dinosaur belongs to the allosauroids’ megaraptor subgroup.
Zanno, who now works at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences as director of paleontology, first discovered the bones at the Cedar Mountain Formation in Utah. While scientists are excited about the discovery of a new species, they opine that this discovery will also open up a completely new arena of study pertaining to this new group of dinosaurs that existed in North America.