School is out and summer is upon us. I might have spoken to soon as I woke up to snow on my deck this morning!! Let me be the first to wish all who are Father’s a very happy and fun Father’s Day. Remember you get free admission to the museum with one paid adult or child admission.
Timurlengia lived during the Cretaceous period, approximately 90 million years ago according to an international team of paleontologists led by Dr. Steve Brusatte from the University of Edinburgh, UK. It was discovered in the Kyzylkum Desert of northern Uzbekistan.
This species fills a 20 million year gap in the fossil record of tyrannosaurs and provides key insights into how the group evolved. The new species is a tyrannosaur but not the ancestor of the T.rex. The skull, which had slender, blade like sharp teeth, was much smaller than that of T.rex, indicating that it did not grow to the same enormous size as a T.rex. It had keen eyesight, and an excellent sense of smell and hearing. This all allowed the tyrannosaurs to become the top predators. Detailed CAT-scans showed that this dinosaur had long inner ear canals, for hearing low frequency sounds. This might be an indication that the animal used low calls to communicate within the species. It probably preyed on the various plant eaters like duck billed dinosaurs. According to the research team, the first tyrannosaurs lived during the Jurassic period, around 170 million years ago, and were only slightly larger than a human. Key features of its skull reveal that its brain and senses were already highly developed. It was about the size of a horse, could weigh up to 600lbs., had long legs, and was likely a fast runner.
It is named after Timurleng, founder of the Timurid Empire in Central Asia. The word euotica is Greek for “well-eared”.
Alexander Averianov, a scientist at the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Hans Sues, chair of the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, collected the fossils between 1997 and 2006.