The Tyrannosaurus rex is one of the scariest dinosaurs and it is known as a giant. Nonetheless, it appears that this beast wasn’t that big at first. An early relative of the dinosaur was recently discovered, and it reveals the humble sizes of the T. Rex ancestors.
The dinosaur that was discovered by scientists is the size of a small deer. Fossilized teeth and leg bones were found by researchers at a dig site that is located in the Cliffs of Insanity, in central Utah.
The ancestor of the T. Rex
The fossils belong to an unknown tyrannosaur species, but they were quickly identified by scientists. Until now. The tyrannosaurs had an incomplete family tree, and there was a 70-million-year gap. However, this recent discovery managed to fill that gap.
The species was named Moros intrepidus. Moros means “the embodiment of impending doom,” while intrepidus means intrepid in Latin. According to the authors of the study, this is a reference connected to the migration of the tyrannosaurs into new habitats.
However, don’t get fooled. Despite the fact that the Moros wasn’t that big or that powerful, it was still dangerous. Lead study author Lindsay Zanno, who is a paleontologist at North Carolina State University and head of paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences gave a statement in which she presented the dinosaur as “a formidable predator”.
More than that, the dinosaur had another big advantage: it was incredibly fast. “Moros was lightweight and exceptionally fast. It could easily have run down prey while avoiding confrontation with the top predators of the day,” added Zanno.
Scientists also determined that the closest relatives of the Moros intrepidus had Asian origins, which would mean that these are the origins of the T. Rex as well.