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Newly Discovered Giant Dinosaur Species May Be Closest Known Relative of T. rex

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A newly discovered giant dinosaur species may be the closest relative of Tyrannosaurus rex, and could even represent the moment that the genus experimented with a huge body.

The new species was recently described in the journal Scientific Reports by paleontologist Sebastian Dalman and his colleagues. It was a mighty carnivore that lived in North America around five million years before T. rex.

Named Tyrannosaurus mcraeensis, proof of its distinction came from examinations of parts of the animal’s fossilized skull, which was previously discovered at the Hall Lake Formation in New Mexico.

Although the remains were initially assigned to T. rex and are comparable in size to its 30-foot-long body, the research team say that they belong to a new species due to the presence of multiple “subtle” differences in the shape of, and joins between, the skull bones of the specimen and T. rex.

Based on the locations of the remains in relation to rocks and other dinosaur fossils, the researchers suggest that T. mcraeensis may have lived between 71 and 73 million years ago—between five and seven million years before T. rex.

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Oldest Fossilized Human Footprints in North America Over 20,000 Years Old: New Study

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It has long been hypothesized that humans arrived in North America while the last Ice Age was beginning to wane perhaps between 13,000 and 16,000 years ago, but after rigorous study and debate a new dating method for a set of fossilized human footprints found in White Sands, New Mexico shows humans were already here at least 21,000 years ago.

This was a time when the geographic extent of the ice sheet and glacier coverage on Earth’s surface peaked, known as the Last Glacial Maximum.

When the first set of results was published in 2021, it kicked off a global conversation among the science community as to the accuracy of the ages. Using radiocarbon dating of seeds from the common aquatic plant Ruppia cirrhosa found among the fossilized impressions, the team came up with 21,000 years ago.

However aquatic plants can acquire carbon from dissolved carbon atoms in the water rather than ambient air, which can potentially cause the measured ages to be too old.

Co-lead author of the new study on the same footprints, Dr. Jeff Pigati at the US Geological Survey, says the latest findings back up what they found originally.

“The immediate reaction in some circles of the archaeological community was that the accuracy of our dating was insufficient to make the extraordinary claim that humans were present in North America during the Last Glacial Maximum,” said Dr. Pigati.

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