Scientists unveil T-Rex’s long-lost older cousin

Scientists in Canada have unveiled a new species of dinosaur closely related to, but far older than, the Tyrannosaurus rex. This now-oldest member of the T-Rex family tree goes by the cuddly name ‘Reaper of Death.’

The Thanatotheristes degrootorum (Greek for ‘Reaper of Death’) or just Thanatos for short, measured eight metres (26 feet) in length and roamed the plains of North America some 80 million years ago, terrorizing herbivores everywhere.

“We chose a name that embodies what this tyrannosaur was as the only known large apex predator of its time in Canada, the reaper of death,” explained Darla Zelenitsky, assistant professor of dinosaur palaeobiology at Canada’s University of Calgary.

While its far more famous cousin the Tyrannosaurus rex ran things roughly 66 million years ago, Thanatos was terrorizing dinos across North America at least 79 million years ago. 

Boasting a long, deep snout similar to more primitive carnivorous predators, Thanatos was recently discovered by Jared Voris, a PhD student at Calgary. Here’s hoping no one gets any bright ideas and decides to make Jurassic Park a reality and stage a long-lost family reunion between these two terrifying predators.

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