A newly discovered relative of Tyrannosaurus Rex has been found in New Mexico and announced today. Tyrannosaurs often bear fierce names. Aside from the “tyrant lizard” Tyrannosaurus itself, there’s the “monstrous murderer” Teratophoneus, the “frightful lizard” Daspletosaurus, and the “gore king” Lythronax. But a new set of tyrannosaur bones extracted from the 80-million-year-old rock of New Mexico may have one of the most imposing names of all—Dynamoterror dynastes, the “powerful terror ruler.”
The remains of this new Tyrannosaur were found in 2012 by Paleontologist Andrew McDonald. It is estimated to be around 30-feet-long, but what is even more amazing then how big it was is when and where it lived while being that big.
Dynamoterror lived around 80 million years ago in the late Cretaceous period in the southern-center of what is now North America. Here is the kicker. 80 million years ago North America was divided down the center by the western interior sea way. So the majority of fossils that are found in the New Mexico-Texas border are mostly marine life from this time. There hasn't need many fossils at all found of terrestrial animals.
Large Tyrannosaurs like Gorgosaurus and Albertosaurus lived around 80-75 million years ago in the northern regions of North America and would have been on the western banks of the interior sea way. This is the cool part. This means that there were two groups of Tyrannosaurids evolving separately from each other, and at roughly similar time periods.
This leaves the door wide open for more discussion.
Is there a new and larger species of Tyrannosaur that would Rival T-Rex that lived in North America in the late cretaceous?
Did the ancestors following Dynamoterror die off before Tyrannosaurus Rex evolved?
Or did Dynamoterror last through the drying of the interior sea way, migrate north and evolve into Tyrannosaurus Rex?
Dynamoterror is part of this story, and an important one as it’s from an area with few known fossils. No dinosaurs had been named from the Menefee Formation until earlier this year, when an armored dinosaur called Lnvictarx was identified. Dynamoterror is now the second, and the fact that it differs from other known tyrannosaurs of a similar age indicates that there were distinct evolutionary pockets along the length of the ancient subcontinent.
Image of Invictarx to the left
Image of fossils found of Dynamoterror to the left.
No Matter what...This is an exciting and unique find that has all paleontologists asking, "What is out there that hasn't been found yet?"