This week, a new species of Tyrannosaur was discovered in Canada. The beast has gained the name ‘Reaper of Death’ due to its fearsome appearance. This is the first time in 50 years that a new type of Tyrannosaur has been discovered in Canada. Also, interestingly enough this new species is the oldest form of Tyrannosaur to ever be discovered. It is estimated that the beast lived about 79.5 million years ago. This time frame puts the Reaper of Death at 2.5 million years older than its closest relative.
Since this new dinosaur is estimated to be 79.5 million years old, this means that it lived in the cretaceous period of the mesozoic era. The Reaper of Death was alive only roughly 15 million years before dinosaurs went extinct. 15 million years seems like a long time, but it is not too long considering dinosaurs roamed the Earth for over 200 million years.
For background, Tyrannosaurs are a very expansive type of species, with many distinct types. For instance, the Tyrannosaurus Rex is a member of the Tyrannosaur biological family. The Reaper of Death is technically named Thanatotheristes degrootorum. The name comes from latin, similar to how ‘rex’ is latin as well.
The Reaper of Death was approximately a whopping 30 feet (~10 meters) long. The dinosaur likely preyed upon large plant-eating dinosaurs. It is extremely difficult to tell the Reaper of Death apart from its cousin, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, but not impossible. The Reaper of Death is unique due to its vertical ridges that run the length of its upper jaw. Also, it is interesting to note that multiple of these species of Tyrannosaur all roamed around southern Alberta where the fossil was found. Many fossils of different types of dinosaurs have been found in this region as well.
The fossil was found by a farmer and paleontology devotee John De Groot. De Groot will go down in history as adding to our knowledge of the Tyrannosaur family for the first time in 50 years for his region. The last time a Tyrannosaur fossil was discovered in southern Alberta or northern Montana was in 1970, which also added to our knowledge of the species.
The species literally named ‘tyrant lizards’ continues to fascinate people all over the globe. The rex, or king, has captivated humanity for over a hundred years now. This week, we have discovered that there is yet another subset of creatures that inhabited its family.