Scientists have discovered a long-snouted dinosaur species in China and have dubbed it "Pinocchio rex."
The new species of the Tyrannosaur roamed the planet more than 66 million years ago. It was 29 feet long and weighed about 1,800 pounds. It was a smaller and likely a more agile version of the better-known Tyrannosaurus rex. The two animals shared oxygen during the late Cretaceous period, according to a study published May 7 in the journal Nature Communications.
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"It's one of the closest cousins of T. rex," Edinburgh University paleontologist Stephen Brusatte told The New York Daily News.
"Kind of like lions and cheetahs on the savannah. Both cats, both meat eaters, but their differences in body size and skulls allow them to feed on slightly different prey."
Pinocchio rex's scientific name, "Qianzhousaurus sinensis," had a thin, long nose adorned with horns. It also had a long skull and long, narrow teeth.
The skull was found on a construction site in the southern Chinese city of Ganzhou.
"These new roads and buildings are being built on sites with rocks chock full of dinosaurs," Brusatte told the Daily News. "This part of southern China is only starting to be explored ... [it] is the epicenter for paleontology in the world now."
The findings confirm that another tyrannosaur species existed. The fossil was well preserved because the animal was buried with dirt soon after it died, protecting it from erosive water and air for millions of years, study leader Junchang Lü, of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Beijing, told National Geographic.
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