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Discovered cousin of T. rex, a dinosaur that left no escape
THE NAME you have given does not presage anything good. "Reaper of death", or, if you prefer, Thanatotheristes degrootorum. It is a new species of dinosaur, distant cousin of the already fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex, as soon as identified by a team of scientists from the University of Calgary, Canada: a beast of two meters and means of height, equipped with teeth razor sharp adamantium longer than 7 inches. The details of the discovery were published in an article in the Cretaceous Research Journal.

"We chose a name that embodies the main feature of this dinosaur," says Darla Zelenitsky , professor of paleobiology and co-author of the study. "Or the fact that he was the only predator of great size that was in Canada 80 million years ago. A reaper of death, in fact. The species was identified by analyzing the remains of Thanatos (another nickname gloomy: in Greek Thanatos means death), a specimen fossilized, discovered in 2010 near Hays, a small village in the south of Alberta, by John De Groot , a farmer and a paleontologist amateur from which is derived the second part of the name of the new species.

"The jaw was staggering," he said. "I knew immediately that it was something special by looking at the length of the teeth fossilized". This is the first new species belonging to the genus Tyrannosaurus discovered in Canada in the last half-century: the previous one was the Daspletosaurus, identified in the 1970's.

Thanatos lived during the period of the Cretaceous, between 145 and 65 million years ago; it measured eight feet in length (from head to tail) and was equipped with a long snout and deep, perfectly adapted for the capture of prey. Difficult to escape or survive them, also considered the teeth "in the shape of a steak knife" and just as sharp. The dating of the fossil suggests that Thanatos was part of one of the species of tyrannosaurus that are older than the north America, ahead of the T. rex is about 12 million years. His fossilized bones have taken a powder in the drawer of a museum for nine years, until Jared Voris , doctoral student in Calgary, has not understood that it was of a species hitherto unknown. Into letting him enter fully into the circle of creatures, the most fearsome ever.

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