Wednesday, February 08, 2006
"The earliest tyrannosaur - the great-grandfather of the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex - has been unearthed in a desert in China.
Dubbed Guanlong, meaning "crowned dragon", the oldest known tyrannosauroid lived about 160 million years ago in northwestern China and was at the base of the evolutionary tree leading to the tyrant lizard king, T. rex.
Researchers found the nearly complete skeleton of a juvenile and the partial skeleton of a 3-metre-long adult in a former wetland in what is now the Gobi Desert. The juvenile died first and its skeleton sank into the mud where it may later have been walked over by the adult before it died, says Xing Xu of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, China, who led the team."