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Top Stories for January 30, 2014
GSENM to introduce newest dinosaur on February 7
Come join Dr. Alan Titus as he gives a personal introduction of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s newest dinosaur on Friday, February 7, at the GSENM Kanab Visitor Center starting at 7 p.m. The presentation is free and open to the public.
This newly named animal, Lythronax argestes (Lie-throw-nacks ar-jest-eez), is a tyrannosaur of the same family as T-rex, just 12 million years older! In fact, it is so much older than T-rex that it is the oldest known true tyrannosaur ever named. In keeping with spirit of its descendant’s name, Lythronax’s name means “southern king of gore.”
While it is no surprise that T-rex’s great, great-great-great-great-granddaddy (or grandmama, we’re not sure!) would be found someday, it is shocking at how similar these two animals are to each other.
As it turns out, Lythronax is more closely related to T-rex than any other tyrannosaur found in the intervening 12 million years that separates them. It pushes back the evolution of T-rex-like animals much farther in time than previously thought. It also suggests that true T-rex-like animals with massive heads and stereoscopic vision must have lived only in the southern U.S. until just before they went extinct.
Glen Canyon Natural History Association will be at the presentation offering for sale copies of the new book on GSENM Cretaceous fossils, “At the Top of the Grand Staircase: The Late Cretaceous of Southern Utah,” which Dr. Titus, chief editor and contributor of the book, will gladly sign.
“I’m obviously very excited to talk about our newest named dinosaur,” said Dr. Titus, “and I’m even more thrilled to unveil a casting of the dinosaur’s skull at the event. I’m sure everyone attending will want to bring a camera and get their picture with Lythronax.”