Photos: New dinosaur discovered in Utah
Paleontologists on Wednesday unveiled a new dinosaur discovered four years ago in southern Utah that proves giant tyrant dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurus rex were around 10 million years earlier than previously believed.
A full skeletal replica of the carnivore _ the equivalent of the great uncle of the T. rex _ was on display at the Natural History Museum of Utah alongside a 3-D model of the head and a large painted mural of the dinosaur roaming a shoreline.
It was the public's first glimpse at the new species, which researchers named Lythronax argestes (LY'-throw-nax ar-GES'-tees). The first part of the name means "king of gore," and the second part is derived from poet Homer's southwest wind.
The fossils were found in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in November 2009, and a team of paleontologists spent the past four years digging them up and traveling the world to confirm they were a new species.
Paleontologists believe the dinosaur lived 80 million years ago in the late Cretaceous Period on a landmass in the flooded central region of North America.
The discovery offers valuable new insight into the evolution of the ferocious tyrannosaurs that have been made famous in movies and captured the awe of school children and adults alike, said Thomas Holtz Jr., a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Maryland department of geology. —AP