Quantcast
Connect with us

Dwarf T-rex dinosaurs probably did not exist: study

Published

on

For three decades, paleontologists the world over have been split over a provocative finding: did a dwarf species of Tyrannosaurus rex really once exist?

In 1988, paleontologist Robert Bakker and his colleagues at the Cleveland (Ohio) Museum of Natural History reclassified a specimen first discovered in 1942 and displayed at the museum.

It was, they said, the first known member of a small new species they baptized as the Nanotyrannus.

ADVERTISEMENT

Then, in 2001, another team discovered the nearly complete skeleton of a small Tyrannosaurus near the town of Ekalaka in Montana, in the rich and intensively studied fossil formation known as Hell Creek.

They named the creature — barely bigger than a draft horse — Jane and soon classified it as a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex.

But a minority of specialists continued to insist that it was part of the newly classified Nanotyrannus species. They pointed to the morphology of its skull and bones, which they said differed from T-rex adults.

– Answers in the bones –

In a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, researchers led by Holly Woodward of Oklahoma State University performed a microscopic analysis on samples from the interior of Jane’s tibia and femur bones, as well as from a less complete set of bones from an animal dubbed Petey.

This technique, known as paleohistology, confirmed that the two were immature individuals — not adults, the scientists said.

ADVERTISEMENT

By extension, the study’s authors said, the existence of the Nanotyrannus seems very unlikely.

“The really cool thing about fossil bones is that a whole bone fossilizes even down to the microscopic size,” Woodward told AFP.

“We can infer growth rate, age (and) maturity level.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The researchers took extremely fine slices from the bone samples — so thin that light could pass through them — and then studied them under powerful microscopes.

The size of the blood vessel openings revealed that the two dinosaurs were still in a phase of rapid growth at the time of death. Had they been adults, this vascularization would have been less prominent.

ADVERTISEMENT

– Only a half-dozen specimens –

The team was also able to count the growth rings in each animal’s bones, much as one can do to determine the age of a tree: 13 years for Jane, and 15 for Petey.

The study adds to scientists’ still limited knowledge of the 20-year period between a dinosaur’s hatching and its adulthood.

ADVERTISEMENT

Jane, who weighed only one ton, died before reaching the phase of exponentially rapid growth that normally would have brought her to an adult weight of just under 10 tons.

“Everyone loves T-rex, but we don’t really know much about how it grew up,” Woodward said. “It’s probably the most famous dinosaur in the world, and we mostly just have really large skeletons of it.”

That is partly due to the obsession of collectors and the public with finding and displaying the most enormous T-rex skeletons possible — unearthed sometimes to the detriment of smaller specimens.

Unfortunately, Woodward said, only five to seven fossils of young T-rex dinosaurs are known to exist in the world, and some of those are

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

OANN reporter attended White House briefing — despite ban for violating public health

Published

on

One America News Network, a far-right news channel that consistently praises President Donald Trump, saw their key reporter Chanel Rion banned from the White House press briefing room by the White House Correspondents Association for repeatedly refusing to follow social distancing guidelines and showing up on days she wasn't in the rotation.

But according to correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, that hasn't stopped Rion from attending the press briefings — because White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham keeps inviting her back anyway.

Wow. CNN, MSNBC & Fox News are not covering the WH briefing live.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump predicts Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will beat Chuck Schumer in 2022 New York Senate primary

Published

on

President Donald Trump weighed in on the 2022 New York state senate primary in a letter sent to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Trump thanks Schumer for his "Democrat (sic) public relations letter and incorrect sound bites, which are wrong in every way.

The leader of the free world said of Vice President Mike Pence that, "by almost all accounts, he has done a spectacular job."

"If you spent less time on your ridiculous impeachment hoax, which went haplessly on forever and ended up going nowhere (except increasing my poll numbers), and instead focused on helping the people of New York, then New York would not have been so completely unprepared for the 'invisible enemy,'" he argued.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump slammed for begging Congress to not investigate his coronavirus response failures

Published

on

At Thursday's coronavirus press briefing, President Donald Trump pre-emptively tried to complain about the upcoming congressional commission into the federal government's handling of the pandemic, proclaiming that "this is not the time for politics" and demanding the "witch hunts" against him end.

Commenters on social media immediately slammed the president's attempt to hide from responsibility:

Moments after saying "this is not the time for politics," Trump denounces "witch hunts" and says the perpetrators are only improving his poll numbers.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image