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New 'King of Gore' tyrannosaur species predated T. rex

Lythronax ruled long before the T. rex, and gets it name for its large teeth and carnivorous appetite.

By Ananth Baliga
New 'King of Gore' tyrannosaur species predated T. rex
The Lythronax, which walked the Earth nearly 80 million years ago, is on display at the Natural History Museum in Utah. (Credit: Natural History Museum of Utah/Gary Staab)

(UPI) -- Paleontologists at the Natural History Museum of Utah unveiled on Wednesday a new species of tyrannosaur, Lythronax argestes, whose name means "king of gore."

Believed to have roamed the earth 95-70 million years ago, the newly discovered dinosaur belongs to the same family as the Tyrannosaurus rex, better known as the T. rex, which lived some 66 million years ago.

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At 24 feet long and weighing 2.5 tonnes, the Lythronax would have been a bit smaller than a T. rex, but the two-legged dinosaur had a head full of sharp teeth and was the largest carnivore in its ecosystem during its time.

Lythronax gets its rather terrifying name from its large teeth and carnivorous appetite, and argestes comes from Homer’s southwest wind, in reference to the southwestern location of the specimen.

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“The width of the back of the skull of Lythronax allowed it to see with an overlapping field of view -- giving it the binocular vision -- very useful for a predator and a condition we associate with T. rex,” said Dr. Mark Loewen, the study’s lead author.

Lythronax was discovered in the geological formation called the Wahweap Formation in southern Utah, along with parts of a turtle shell, crab claws and leaf impressions.

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Lythronax lived roughly 80 million years ago in a swampy, subtropical coastal setting on the “island continent” of western North America, known as “Laramidia.”

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During the late Cretaceous, Laramidia was split in two by a seaway with short-snouted tyrannosaurs in the south and large-snouted tyrannosaurs in the north.

Knowledge of tyrannosaur dinosaurs from the southern part of Laramidia is largely unknown and this discovery is expected help fill in the gaps.

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