A tiny 3-foot-tall relative of the Tyrannosaurus Rex has been discovered and named as Suskityrannus Hazelae. Virginia Tech paleontologist Sterling Nesbitt in New Mexico 1998 made the discovery.
Suskityrannus Hazelae is believed to have weighed between 45 and 90 pounds. In comparison the typical weight for a full-grown Tyrannosaurus Rex is roughly 9 tons. Its diet likely consisted of the same as its larger meat-eating counterpart, with the Suskityrannus Hazelae likely hunting small animals, although what it hunted is unknown. The dinosaur was at least 3 years old at death based on an analysis of growth from its bones.
The fossil dates back 92 million years to the Cretaceous Period, a time when some of the largest dinosaurs ever found lived.
The discovery itself has a fascinating backstory: The fossil was found more than 20 years ago by Sterling Nesbitt, who went on to become a Virginia Tech University paleontologist and the lead author of the new study. Nesbitt was 16 when he discovered the fossil during a high school dig trip in the Zuni Basin of western New Mexico.
The fossil remains where it was found near other dinosaurs, along with the remains of fish, turtles, mammals, lizards, and crocodylians.
The name Suskityrannus Hazelae is derived from “Suski,” the Zuni Native American tribe word for “coyote,” and from the Latin word ‘Tyrannus‘ meaning king and ‘Hazelae‘ for Hazel Wolfe, whose support made possible many successful fossil expeditions in the Zuni Basin.
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