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.