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Dinosaurs That Were Bigger than Tyrannnosaurus Rex
Tyrannosaurus rex, otherwise known as T. rex is perhaps the most famous creature known from the fossil record. It is certainly a very well-known dinosaur, but ironically, new evidence has appeared in the last decade or so to challenge some of the long-held public perceptions about this prehistoric monster.
T. rex The World’s Most Famous Dinosaur?
Ask a child what their favorite dinosaur is and they will probably say Tyrannosaurus rex. This dinosaur is often called the “superstar predator” of the Late Cretaceous, but how big and scary was this dinosaur? Were there other dinosaurs bigger than T. rex? Does this dinosaur deserve the name “king of predatory lizards”?
Tyrannosaurus rex is a member of the Tyrannosaurid dinosaur family. This type of carnivorous dinosaur existed for some time in the Jurassic and as a group they did not become important until the Late Cretaceous when they came to many other giant forms and became the top predators of the northern hemisphere, especially mostly in Asia and North America. . Regarding the exact origins of the Tyrannosaurs, this is still unclear. Eotyrannus (Eotyrannus lengi) known from a skeleton discovered on the Isle of Wight (England), shows a number of Tyrannosaur characteristics and some scientists have suggested that this group of dinosaurs was the first to exist in Europe. However, some scientists argue that Tyrannosaurs originated in eastern Asia, citing fossil discoveries such as Guanlong (Guanlong wucaii) from Late Jurassic strata in China as evidence that the ancestors of T. rex came from the East.
As a group, Tyrannosaurids had large, heavy, broad skulls. The jaws are made of large, slightly curved teeth with both sides of each tooth shaped like a blade. The teeth, especially those of later, large Tyrannosaurids such as T. rex, Gorgosaurus and Daspletosaurus were thick and in cross section rather D-shaped. The front legs are much shorter than in other groups of Theropods such as Allosaurids. In the last of the Tyrannosaurs, these arms ended in two-fingered hands, with each finger having a sharp claw on the end. The tail is long and muscular and helps balance these creatures. Surprisingly, T. rex is relatively well represented in the fossil record when compared with other Late Cretaceous carnivores. A number of good quality, almost finished baskets are known, the largest of which measures a fraction over 1.7 meters in length.
The skull of Tyrannosaurus rex is strong enough to break bones. Evaluations on the bite effect of this predator indicate that this animal has one of the strongest bites of all animals known to science. A small, heavy animal with a flexible joint in its middle, this trait is seen in a number of other unrelated dinosaurs. This combination allows the jaws to be flexible so that the mouth can be opened very wide to bring in large meat and bones. A large circle (eye socket) indicates that this dinosaur had excellent vision. Measurements made of the approximate size of the optic nerve entering the brain from the eye suggest that this nerve is less than two centimeters thick in large specimens. This would indicate that a lot of data was being transmitted from the face of this dinosaur into the brain. It has forward-facing eyes, giving the T. rex stereoscopic vision, an awesome advantage even when we consider that the T. rex could see the world from fourteen feet in the air – its head on top of the sky powerful.
In terms of size, the largest known Tyrannosaurus rex is a solid form, currently housed in the Chicago Field Museum (Chicago, United States). Believed to be a female, this specimen measured 42 feet in length and scientists have determined that this particular animal could have weighed as much as 7,000 kilograms. Discovered in the Badlands of South Dakota in the early 1990s this specimen is the largest Tyrannosaur skeleton in the world. However, rumors of an even larger fossil Tyrannosaurus rex have been circulating around scientific circles. The skull, although not completely excavated is believed to be a good six inches larger than the Chicago Field Museum specimen.
Even with this new Tyrannosaur discovery, there are a number of other dinosaurs that were much larger than T. rex. First, the number of plant-eating dinosaurs is very, very large, but even in the world of carnivores there are many candidates to compete with T. rex for the title of the largest carnivorous dinosaur. known as science.
Remaining within the Tyrannosaur family we can meet two potential rivals to Tyrannosaurus rex – animals such as Tarbosaurus (Tarbosaurus bataar) from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia. The larger of the two Tarbosaurus bones housed at the Palaeontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow (Russia) is about forty feet long. Then there is the newly discovered Kannada Tyrannosaurus, known as the “Alapada from the city of Zhucheng” – Zhuchengtyrannus magus. This Late Cretaceous carnivore was formally described in April of this year. It is known from a nearly complete skeleton recovered from a viewing site in the last twelve months or so. The lower left jawbone (tooth) is nearly complete and measures over a meter in length, indicating an animal perhaps as large as Tyrannosaurus rex.
Then we have to consider other competitors, dinosaurs that ate meat and were bigger than Tyrannosaurus rex. Perhaps the best known is Giganotosaurus (Giganotosaurus Carolini). Fossils of this dinosaur were first found in Argentina in 1994 and formally described a year later. Giganotosaurus is a member of the Allosaur family, it has been estimated that it was almost fifty feet long and probably weighed about eight thousand kilograms. Then there’s Carcharodontosaurus (Carcharodontosaurus saharicus), from northern Africa. Although, known only from fossils, the Allosaur was estimated to be around six feet in length.
Finally, the least known trove of fossils was found at the famous Cleveland-Lloyd quarry in the Morrison Formation (Utah). This dinosaur, also a member of the Allosaurids is known as Saurophaganax (S. maximus). A few bones assigned to this genus were discovered before World War II, but they were not fully scientifically studied until the mid-1990s. Little is known about this dinosaur, but estimates suggest that it was a predator. this animal was over forty feet long, rivaling the largest Tyrannosaurids.
For this time, T. rex is the most famous of all dinosaurs, but it is not the greatest land predator of all time. That is until the next T.rex fossil is found.
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