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70 million years old deadly dinosaur found in Alaska

NEW YORK: Tyrannosaurs, the lineage ofcarnivorous dinosaurs that included the deadlyT-Rex, have captivated our attention for ages.

But fossils of this group came mostly from low to mid latitudes of North America and Asia.

Now, a 70 million years old fossil found in the late Cretaceous sediments of Alaska reveals a new small yet deadly tyrannosaur.

This new dinosaur, named Nanuqsaurus Hoglundi, is estimated to be relatively small, with an adult skull length estimated at 25 inches, compared to 60 inches for T-Rex.

The research showed that the new species might have inhabited a seasonally extreme, high-latitude continental environment on the northernmost edge of Cretaceous North America.

In the study, scientists analyzed the partial skull roof, maxilla and jaw recovered from Prince Creek Formation in Northern Alaska and then compared the fossils to known tyrannosaurine species.

This discovery may provide new insights into the adaptability and evolution of 
tyrannosaurs in a different environment — the Arctic.

"The 'pygmy tyrannosaur' alone is really cool because it tells us something about what the environment was like in the ancient Arctic," Anthony Fiorillo from Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Texas, US.

"Nanuqsaurus hoglundi also tells us about the biological richness of the ancient polar world during a time when the earth was very warm compared to today," he added in the study appeared in the journal PLOS ONE.

The Times of India (13-03-2014)