Come join Dr. Alan Titus as he gives a personal introduction of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument’s newest dinosaur, Tuesday, March 18, at the Escalante Interagency 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 asT-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.