Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Species in news: Thanatotheristes


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Thanatotheristes

Mains level : Not Much


Scientists have found that a dinosaur fossil, found in Alberta in Canada in 2010, belongs to a new species of tyrannosaur. They have named it Thanatotheristes, which means “reaper of death”.


  • Tyrannosaurs were one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs to have ever lived, with very large and high skulls, and the best known among them is the Tyrannosaurus rex, celebrated in the Jurassic Park series.
  • The 79-million-year-old fossil that the researchers have found is the oldest tyrannosaur known from northern North America.
  • Thanatotheristes preyed on large plant-eating dinosaurs such as the horned xenoceratops and the dome-headed colepiochephale.
  • The research suggests that tyrannosaurs did not have one general body type; rather different tyrannosaur species evolved distinct body sizes, skull forms and other such physical features.
  • The fossil specimen is important to understand the Late Cretaceous period, which is the period when tyrannosaurs roamed the Earth.

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