|Nanuqsaurus hoglundi Fiorillo & Tykoski 2014|
nearly 2 m. tall at the hips and 7 m. from snout to tail, about half the size of T rex.
Illustration: Karen Carr
Tyrannosaurid theropods were dominant terrestrial predators in Asia and western North America during the last of the Cretaceous. The known diversity of the group has dramatically increased in recent years with new finds, but overall understanding of tyrannosaurid ecology and evolution is based almost entirely on fossils from latitudes at or below southern Canada and central Asia. Remains of a new, relatively small tyrannosaurine were recovered from the earliest Late Maastrichtian (70-69Ma) of the Prince Creek Formation on Alaska's North Slope. Cladistic analyses show the material represents a new tyrannosaurine species closely related to the highly derived Tarbosaurus+Tyrannosaurus clade. The new taxon inhabited a seasonally extreme high-latitude continental environment on the northernmost edge of Cretaceous North America. The discovery of the new form provides new insights into tyrannosaurid adaptability, and evolution in an ancient greenhouse Arctic.
Etymology: Nanuqsaurus, combination of ‘nanuq’ the Iñupiaq word for polar bear and the Greek ‘sauros’ for lizard; hoglundi, named in recognition of Forrest Hoglund for his career in earth sciences and his philanthropic efforts in furthering cultural institutions.
(Iñupiaq word source: http://alaskool.org/language/dictionaries/inupiaq/dictionary.htm)
|Theropod size comparisons, showing the newly discovered Nanuqsaurus hoglundi (A), Tyrannosaurus rex (B and C), Daspletosaurus torosus (D), Albertosaurus sarcophagus (E), Troodon formosus (F), and Troodon sp. (G). |
Scale bar equals 1 metre | Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091287
Anthony R. Fiorillo and Ronald S. Tykoski. 2014. A Diminutive New Tyrannosaur from the Top of the World. PLoS ONE. 9 (3): e91287.