MELBOURNE, March 26 (UPI) — A hip bone found in Australia proves tyrannosaurs existed in the Southern Hemisphere, but as much smaller cousins of Tyrannosaurus rex, scientists said.
The bone found in 1989, but not identified until last year, shares some basic characteristics with primitive northern ancestors of T. rex, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.
Named NMV P186069, the new tyrannosaur probably weighed about 175 pounds and measured 10 feet in length, as opposed to T. rex’s 8,000 pounds and 39 feet. NMV’s hip bone measures about 12 inches, while a T. rex hip bone is about 53 inches long.
The bone discovered in Victoria state could provide clues about why tyrannosaurs failed to become dominant predators below the equator, said paleontologist Roger Benson of the University of Cambridge, England.
“We think tyrannosaurs became global early in history,” Benson said, “but for some reason, in the north tyrannosaurs became exceptionally successful predators, and in south, they just dwindled away.”
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