"Silhouette of dinosaur sculpture at sunset, Moab, Utah, USA"

508480307

"Silhouette of dinosaur sculpture at sunset, Moab, Utah, USA"

Photo by: Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd

Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd

The T-Rex Has a New Branch on its Family Tree

By: Leah Weber

A farmer happened upon one of the greatest fossil finds in Canada, which was recently announced by paleontologists to be, quite possibly, one of the oldest dino-finds in the country!

March 13, 2020

The ‘Reaper of Death’ has quite a ring to it, though being scientifically known as thanatotheristes degrootorum isn’t so bad either. So, what led to this very cool name?

Well, it all started back in 2010. Local farmers and paleontology enthusiasts, the de Groots, were hiking along the Bow River in southern Alberta, Canada when they saw something that caught their dino-loving eyes. “The jawbone was an absolutely stunning find. We knew it was special because you could clearly see the fossilized teeth,” John De Groot said in a statement released jointly by the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology and the University of Calgary.

Mr. De Groot and his family became interested in paleontology because of where they live. Alberta, Canada is known for its impressive pre-historic finds—especially in The Canadian Badlands. Sandra De Groot spoke about her husband’s discovery saying, “John always said that one day he would find a dinosaur skull. Finding the jaw was exciting. Hearing that it is a new species, and seeing it given our family name, was beyond belief.”

Now remember, that was all 10 years ago. Paleontologists at the aforementioned Royal Tyrrell Museum in Calgary went out to the site in Alberta and uncovered what they now believe to be a new relative of the tyrannosaurus rex. Arguably the most notable dinosaur, the one discovered by the De Groots is likely the oldest found in North America.

In February 2020 the thanatotheristes degrootorum was named in an announced by Dr. Francois Therrien, who is the Curator of Dinosaur Paleoecology at the Royal Tyrell Museum. Back to the nomenclature-- the second part is obviously named for the De Groot family, but the first part has its name derived from the Greek god of death, Thanatos, and the word theristes, which means “one who reaps or harvests.”

With basic understanding of paleontology, we all know that the common T-Rex was one deadly guy—very big and he kind of ruled the roost. This discovery is so interesting to the field because of the significant information these fossils can give to the larger T-Rex family tree. Dr. Therrien said, “This discovery is significant because it fills in a gap in our understanding of tyrannosaur evolution.”

Next Up

Caring for Coral at Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium is home to a variety of coral species that come in an array of different shapes and colors. The coral reef wall in Georgia Aquarium’s Tropical Diver gallery is one of the largest coral walls in any aquarium. Propagation aquarists at the Aquarium cultivate and transplant live coral from a behind-the-scenes aquaculture pool to the reef wall in their Tropical Diver gallery.

There is Hope for the Future of Polar Bears Threatened by Climate Change

Scientific researchers have recently identified a sub-population of polar bears in southeastern Greenland that survive by hunting on glacial slush. The discovery of their unique behaviors is helping scientists understand the future of this species whose habitats are threatened by climate change.

This Giant Mushroom Is the Largest Organism Ever

These fungi are larger than blue whales and dinosaurs!

This Summer, Lake Tahoe Will Get 100,000 Fish Back

For hundreds of years, the Lahontan cutthroat trout swam and spawned in the crystal waters of Lake Tahoe, providing food for native tribes and playing an essential role in the balance of the lake’s ecosystem.

Are Sharks Coming Closer to Our Shores?

Scientists at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science have speculated that variables related to high urbanization may be driving higher occurrences of sharks within coastal waters. With high increased levels of urbanization in coastal cities, it’s important for our world to understand how ocean life adapts to the changes in their habitats.

Manatee’s Cousins Have Vanished from the Ocean

Dugongs, the peaceful ‘sea cows’ of the ocean have been declared functionally extinct in China. The vegetarian mammal has vanished from the coastlines of Asia and Africa.

The Stegosaurus Was An Ancient Relic To The T. Rex

These two popular dinosaurs never crossed paths.

Is Climate Change Killing More Elephants than Poachers?

Kenya’s Wildlife and Tourism Board has announced that climate change is now a bigger threat to elephant populations than poaching. Kenya is currently facing an extreme drought that is threatening the livelihoods of people and wildlife within the area.

The Aztec Death Whistle Makes One of the Scariest Sounds You'll Ever Hear

If your worst nightmare had a soundtrack, it would feature this whistle.

99 Percent Of The Earth's Species Are Extinct—But That's Not The Worst Of It

There's been a vast diversity of life that has existed is now extinct.