Rejoice, Dinophiles: A Half-Sized Tyrannosaur Once Roamed The Arctic
hold on to your butts
I live in the subarctic, which means that when I’m lucky, I get to see the Northern Lights. I’ve spent many nights kneeling by my window, watching the sky dance. I also, on separate occasions, like to imagine what the world looked like before humans. Dinosaurs often play heavily into this.
Never before have I thought to picture the two in the same place.
From Discover Magazine:
Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, found in northern Alaska, was initially classified as a different species of carnivorous theropod. However, new analysis suggests it is a previously unknown tyrannosaur that is closely related to T. Rex and to fellow toothy tyrant Tarbosaurus. The new genus name Nanuqsaurus is based on the local word for “polar bear.”
An Arctic-dwelling dinosaur, named for polar bears. I could not be happier.
Nanuqsaurus is estimated to have been roughly half the size of its famous cousin, about twenty-five feet from tip to tail. Makes sense, when you consider the colder clime. Though the Arctic was much warmer then, it was still a far cry from the tropical jungles we’re used to imagining dinosaurs stomping around. The find has the potential to provide some interesting clues about Cretaceous ecology, as well as the relationship between climate change and body size. For those ready to sink their teeth into some academic writing, the researchers’ findings are available in full at PLoS One. If the layman approach is more your style, Motherboard has a user-friendly analysis.