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Ancestor of T-Rex dinosaur unearthed in Poland

Polish palaeontologist Tomasz Sulej presents a bone of a predator dinosaur at the Polish Academy of Science in Warsaw, August 1, 2008. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

WARSAW (Reuters) - Palaeontologists digging in a brickyard in southern Poland have discovered the fossilised remains of a dinosaur that they say is a previously unknown ancestor of the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

The predator dinosaur, given the working name “Dragon”, lived around 200 million years ago, team member Dr Tomasz Sulej of the Polish Science Academy told Reuters.

It was 5 metres (yards) long and moved on two legs. Its longest teeth were 7 cm (2 inches) long.

“This is a completely new type of dinosaur that was so far unknown,” Sulej said on Friday. “Nobody even expected that members of this group lived in that time, so this gives us new knowledge about the whole evolution of the T-Rex group.”

The incomplete skeleton was excavated from a brickyard in Lisowice village, about 200 km (125 miles) from Warsaw.

The palaeontologists will continue examining the bones and fully document the discovery before they decide what scientific name to give to the new dinosaur. They will exhibit the findings in Lisowice on August 7, Sulej said.

At the same site the group also found a dicynodon -- a reptile that was a direct predecessor of mammals.

“We are almost certain that “Dragon” hunted animals like this herbivorous dicynodon, which looked like a hippopotamus but was much bigger,” Sulej said.

Editing by Kevin Liffey