T-Rex has a new family member: Meet older cousin “Reaper of Death” in Canada

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T-Rex, the most famous dinosaur species, has a new family member! Scientists on Monday said that they have discovered a new dinosaur species that is related to the Tyrannosaurus rex or T-Rex, an AFP report has stated. They said that the newly discovered species roamed the plains of North America around 80 million years ago. Named the Thanatotheristes degrootorum, which is Greek for "Reaper of Death", it is thought to be the oldest member of the T-Rex family discovered so far in the northern part of North America. Scientists believe the "Reaper of Death" grew till around eight metres or 26 feet in length.

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The scientists chose Thanatotheristes degrootorum as the name of the species as an "embodiment" of what the tyrannosaur was. It was the only known large apex predator in Canada of its time, the report quoted Darla Zelenitsky, assistant professor of Dinosaur Palaeobiology at University of Calgary, as saying. She further said that the species has been nicknamed Thanatos.

Scientists also said that while T-Rex, which became famous after Steven Spielberg's dinosaur epic Jurassic Park came out in 1993, roamed the Earth nearly 66 million years ago, Thanatos goes back to at least 79 million years.

The specimen of the species was discovered by Jared Voris, who is a PhD Student at Calgary. It is the first new tyrannosaur to be found in Canada in 50 years.

Zelenitsky told AFP that the tyrannosaurids family has very few species as compared to herbivorous or plant-eating dinosaurs due to the nature of the food chain.

The study, which was co-authored by Zelenitsky and featured in the journal called Cretaceous Research, has found that Thanatos had a long, deep snout, much like those of more primitive tyrannosaurs in the southern United States. The difference in the shapes of skulls of different tyrannosaurs, however, has been attributed by the researchers to the differences in the diets and preys available at the time.