T.Rex's cousins had even SMALLER arms, study finds

And you thought T.Rex had short arms! Fossils reveal how the King of the Dinosaurs’ cousins had even SMALLER forelimbs

  • Researchers have discovered the remains of the T.Rex’s ‘cousins’ in Morocco
  • Fossil analysis reveals they had short bulldog snouts and shorter arms than T.Rex

It is well-known that the King of the Dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex, had tiny arms.

Now, a new study suggests that this trait may have run in the family. 

Researchers from the University of Bath have discovered the remains of the T.Rex’s ‘primitive cousins’ in Morocco. 

These ancient creatures belong to the Abelisauridae, a family of carnivorous dinosaurs that were counterparts to the tyrannosaurs of the Northern Hemisphere. 

Analysis of their fossilised remains reveals they had short, bulldog snouts – and even shorter arms than T.Rex.  

Researchers from the University of Bath have discovered the remains of the T.Rex’s ‘primitive cousins’ in Morocco. One species (artist’s impression) found nearby Sidi Chennane grew to around 15ft (five metres) long

The shin bone of the larger of the two new dinosaurs was discovered at Sidi Chennane, near Casablanca

READ MORE: T.Rex did NOT have permanently exposed teeth – and instead had scaly, lizard-like LIPS

The researchers said the lips were probably not muscular, like they are in mammals

The remains of the two new species were found just outside of Casablanca, and date back to just before the dinosaur-killing asteroid, which struck Earth 66 million years ago.

One species, found near the town of Sidi Daoui, is represented by a foot bone from a predator about 8ft (2.5 metres) long. 

The other, from nearby Sidi Chennane, is the shin bone of a carnivore that grew to around 15ft (five metres) long.

Dr Nick Longrich, who led the study, said: ‘What’s surprising here is that these are marine beds.

‘It’s a shallow, tropical sea full of plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, and sharks. It’s not exactly a place you’d expect to find a lot of dinosaurs. But we’re finding them.’

So far, the researchers have discovered five different species of dinosaur in the region. 

This includes a small duckbill dinosaur named Ajnabia, a long-necked titanosaur, the giant abelisaur Chenanisaurus, and now the two new abelisaurs.

Dr Longrich said: ‘We have other fossils as well, but they’re currently under study. 

‘So we can’t say much about them at the moment, except that this was an amazingly diverse dinosaur fauna.’

An artist’s impression reveals how the smaller predator likely measured about 8ft (2.5 metres) long

This smaller dinosaur was represented by a foot bone found near the town of Sidi Daoui

The findings suggest that many dinosaurs thrived in North Africa right up until the asteroid strike 66 million years ago.  

‘When T. rex reigned as a megapredator in North America, abelisaurs sat at the top of the food chains in North Africa,’ said Professor Nour-Eddine Jalil, co-author on the paper.

‘The dinosaur remains, despite their rarity, give the same messages as the more abundant marine reptile remains.

‘They tell us that, just before the Cretaceous-Paleogene crisis, biodiversity was not declining but on the contrary, was diverse.’

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