The fossils of smaller and older cousins of Tyrannosaurus rex unearthed in the Kyzylkum Desert in northern Uzbekistan indicate that the predecessor of ancient animals that infamous've got brains and sophisticated senses that make them a terrible predator.
Researchers said on Monday that the dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Period about the size of a horse named Timurlengia euotica, which roamed Central Asia 90 million years ago, give hints on lineage called tyrannosaurs that culminated with T. rex, which roamed in North America more than 20 million years later.
|A newly discovered tyrannasour named Timurlengia euotica (illustrated), may hold the key to explaining how its infamous big cousin Tyrannosaurus rex went on to become such a success and reach such massive sizes. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1YlzMH)|
The researchers used a CT scanner to look inside the brain cavity of Timurlengia and digitally reconstruct the brain, sinus, nerves, blood vessels and the inner ear. According to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the arrangement of the inner ear indicates that Timurlengia, like T. rex, is superior in hearing the sound with low frequency.
Timurlengia size is relatively small but has a more developed brain and senses giant apex predators such as Tyrannosaurus rex that lived at the end of the dinosaur era, said paleontologist Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
|Fossils of the newly described tyrannosaur were uncovered in the Kyzylkum desert of Uzbekistan. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1YlzMH)|
"This tells us that tyrannosaurs smarter before they become big," he said. These properties are useful when tyrannosaurs got a chance topped the food chain and become very large after groups of large predatory dinosaurs disappeared.
Timurlengia, which is named after the conqueror of Central Asia in the 14th Century, Tamerlane. It has a size about three to four meters in length and weighs about 270 kilograms. while, T. rex reached 13 meters in length and weighs seven tons.
|From just a handful of fossilised bones and a well preserved brain case, scientists have been able to build a picture of what the Timurlengia would have looked like (illustrated). (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1YlzMH)|
Another paleontologist Hans-Dieter Sues of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington said that Timurlengia, the long-legged hunter is nimble and may be a better runner than a T. rex.
|Analysis of its brain casing (pictured) showed it had already developed inner ear structures which would have enabled it to hear lower frequencies, an advantage for top predators when it came to hearing prey and rivals. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1YlzMH)|
"Timurlengia will be scary creatures, such as the lion is quite scary for us," said Brusatte.
"But if you somehow carry over to an alternate dimension and had the choice between facing Timurlengia or T. rex, you'd pick Timurlengia."
|Palaeontologists say that Timurlengia fills a 'frustrating gap' in the tyrannosaur fossil record (pictured) and shows signs of the traits which enabled the T. rex to become such a successful predator and grow to such massive sizes. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1YlzMH)|
Tyrannosaurus appeared about 170 million years ago and initially the size of a person. Before the discovery of Timurlengia, there is a gap in the fossil record of tyrannosaur between approximately 100 and 80 million years ago that left questions about their evolution.
"Tyrannosaurus just be very large about 80 million years ago," said Sues, as reported by Reuters. The fact that it is still relatively small Timurlengia in 80 million years after the first tyrannosaurus appears showing to enormous size, at the end of their evolutionary history. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | DAILYMAIL]
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