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Smaller T. Rex predecessor offers evolutionary clues

Monday, March 14, 2016 - 01:07

Fossils unearthed in Uzbekistan show that a smaller, older cousin of the Tyrannosaurus Rex had already acquired the sophisticated brain and senses that helped make the T. Rex such a horrifying predator. Gavino Garay reports.

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Researchers at the Smithsonian Institution gave the public its first look Tyrannosaurus rex's older cousin Timurlengia -- believed to have roamed Central Asia 90 million years ago. And its discovery has led to a major clue in the course of the dinosaur's evolution. Only about the size of a horse, it's Timurlengia's brain that is believed to have already had the sophisticated composition of the larger, much scarier predator, T. rex. The discovery has led paleontologists to support the so-called "head-first" development hypothesis. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HANS-DIETER SUES, PALEONTOLOGIST FROM THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, SAYING: "These predators became much smarter, much more advanced in terms of their sensory capacities before they attained the giant size that made them so famous." The fact that Timurlengia and T. Rex are about 20 millions years apart and roamed the earth long after the first Tyrannosaurs appear led researchers to believe T. Rex's enormous size occurred late in evolutionary history.

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Smaller T. Rex predecessor offers evolutionary clues

Monday, March 14, 2016 - 01:07