ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The scientific community across the globe is buzzing about just-released findings on a creature that roamed near part of the Rockies roughly 75 million years ago, and a UNM professor was a key player in the breakthrough research of the tyrannosaur dinosaur.
The ferocious tyrant lizard may have tore through Earth at 30 feet long and almost seven feet tall, but this brand new dinosaur discovery changes the face of T-Rex–literally.
“It’s been a long road, but it’s amazing to finally have this project make it to publication,” said UNM Honors College Professor Jason Moore.
He is part of a team that’s discovered a new cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex.
“The scientific name for the species is Daspletosaurus horneri,” Moore said.
In layman’s terms, it’s known as “Horner’s Frightful Lizard,” named after well-known paleontologist Jack Horner.
The ancient animal was first discovered in 1999 in Montana and delicately dug up from a river bank in 2000 and 2001.
The study suggest the tyrannosaurs’ face was covered in scales, had no lips, and its snout was sensitive–like a crocodile, Moore said.
“This really is its prime way to interact with the environment and to feel the world around it,” Moore said. “So it used its snout to interact in the environment in the same way that we should use our hands,” he noted.
The study on the small-armed species was published this week in Scientific Reports, and Moore said it is funny that one line in the 11-page study stood out, with the love life of T-Rex garnering worldwide headlines.
“This is something that we know that crocodiles will do. Before they mate, they will use their sensitive snout to feel their mate and to interact with them that way, so it’s not too far of a stretch of imagination to believe that T-Rex did this,” he said.
“As with all science, the ideas that we’ve put forward are subject to future testing,” Moore said.
The full specimen is kept at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana, according to Moore.