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Tyrannosaurs used 'sixth sense' to hunt prey

Posted on Thursday, 30 March, 2017 | Comment icon 38 comments

Tyrannosaurs were even deadlier than we thought. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 David Monniaux
The giant two-legged carnivores of the Cretaceous had more than just big teeth and jaws in their arsenal.
The discovery of a new species of tyrannosaur which lived 75 million years ago in what is now Montana has revealed that, like modern crocodiles, these prehistoric predators possessed highly sensitive scales on their face which enabled them to hunt down their next meal with ease.

Known as Daspletosaurus horneri, the new species, which stood 7.2ft in height, possessed a massive skull, a heavy tail and had patches of armored skin across its body.

In addition to helping it hunt down prey, its hypersensitive snout would have likely had other uses too such as helping the animal protect its young from opportunistic predators.

By comparing the new specimen to other tyrannosaurs, scientists have determined that the entire tyrannosaur family was likely to have had the same 'sixth sense' as Daspletosaurus.

"Given that the sensitive snout is so highly integrated into the day-to-day life of alligators and other crocodilians, there is every reason to suspect the same for tyrannosaurs since they were outfitted with the same equipment," said paleontologist Thomas Carr.

Source: Gizmodo | Comments (38)

Tags: Tyrannosaur, Dinosaur

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #29 Posted by taniwha on 31 March, 2017, 15:19
Or maybe mesothermic?
Comment icon #30 Posted by Carnivorfox on 31 March, 2017, 15:23
Endothermy and mesothermy are both possibilities.
Comment icon #31 Posted by taniwha on 31 March, 2017, 15:30
Thanks for your feedback Carnivorfox much appreciated 
Comment icon #32 Posted by Carnivorfox on 31 March, 2017, 15:31
No problem. I'm always happy to discuss dinosaurs.
Comment icon #33 Posted by oldrover on 31 March, 2017, 15:55
Also mammals come in all flavours, heterothermic, endothermic, part time hetero/endothermic. Temperature regulation is a fascinating subject. 
Comment icon #34 Posted by oldrover on 31 March, 2017, 15:58
In mammals, internal temperature regulation is seen as an adaptation for reproduction/young rearing, does perhaps the evidence for it in Archosaurs also coincide with evidence for increased parental care?  
Comment icon #35 Posted by Carnivorfox on 31 March, 2017, 16:03
That's a feasible correlation; there is evidence for parental care in dinosaurs (ie. Maiasaura).
Comment icon #36 Posted by oldrover on 31 March, 2017, 16:48
But, there's also evidence of endothermy form other branches of the Archosaur line, in Pterosaurs, and possibly the Crocodylomorphs. Is there any evidence of parental care in those groups? Also, if that is the case what do you think, is that evidence of some degree of thermoregulation in the basal member of the Archosaur clade (although this would depend I suppose to on it being present in the early Crocodylomorphs) or do you think it suggests independent development of this in each line.  
Comment icon #37 Posted by Carnivorfox on 31 March, 2017, 17:02
Parental care in modern crocodilians is well-documented, so their extinct relatives were probably similar. As for pterosaurs, there has yet to be found any evidence of parental care. I would say an endothermic/mesothermic thermoregulatory system was probably basal to the Ornithodira (Pterosauria+Dinosauria clade), if not the Archosauria as a whole. The evolution of endothermy/mesothermy may be tied to the evolution of skeletal pneumaticity and pulmonary air sacs, which are only definitely known from the Ornithodira. See Butler et al. 2012 for more info on this: [More]
Comment icon #38 Posted by newbloodmoon on 1 April, 2017, 11:45
As if they needen any more reasons to be scary.

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