T-Rex descendant found in Ruhr Valley

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28 Oct, 2011 Updated Fri 28 Oct 2011 09:18 CEST
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Palaeontologists say the parts of a fossilized skeleton found in the Ruhr Valley during construction work two years ago belong to a previously undiscovered dinosaur that could be a relative of the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex.

The dinosaur likely roamed the earth during the Cretaceous period about 90 million years ago, according to researchers who at first suspected the remains, including a long claw, belonged to an ancient crocodile or another more common animal. One scientist called the 2009 discovery in the city of Dortmund “sensational.”

“It’s the only land dinosaur that we’ve discovered from the period in the Ruhr Valley,” said Klaus-Peter Lanser, a dinosaur expert for the State Association of Westfalen-Lippe, which runs the natural history museum in Münster he works at. “The carcass of the animal probably lay in shallow water near the beach where it was petrified.”

The ten-metre-long dinosaur was part of the mostly carnivorous theropod family that roamed the earth before it was one of the dinosaur species killed off by some still-unknown catastrophic event, the scientists believe.

A bridge has been built at the construction site, but experts continue to dig at other spots in the Ruhr Valley, hoping to find new dinosaur remains. The region has been a rich source of research for experts, who have made several discoveries over the years.

In 2004, scientists including Lanser said they had found a dinosaur graveyard of sorts in the area, with the remains of at least six different dinosaur species as well as prehistoric versions of crocodiles and tortoises.

DPA/The Local/mdm



2011/10/28 09:18

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