Paleontologists have recently discovered a new dinosaur in Utah and they say it rivaled the Tyrannosaurus rex and Acrocanthosaurus, according to Sci-News.
The prehistoric giant is named Siats meekerorum. The genus name, Siats, refers to a cannibalistic monster from the mythology of the Ute Native American people. Its specific name acknowledges the Meeker family for their support for early career paleontologists at the Field Museum.
The Siats meekerorum weighed over 4 tons and was over 29 feet long, but paleontolgists say it was not directly related to the T-rex or other Tyrannosaurs.
Rather, it belongs to the carcharodontosaurian group of theropods, whose more famous members include giants like the Argentinean Giganotosaurus. Siats meekerorum belongs to a branch of the carcharodontosaurian family tree that was previously unknown in North America.
The new discovery of Siats meekerorum further contributes to the “mounting evidence” that dinosaurs were “widely dispersed across the globe 100 million years ago” said Dr Peter Makovicky of the Field Museum of Natural History, who is a co-author of the discovery paper that was published in the journal Nature Communications.
Siats meekerorum comes from the middle of a 30-million-year gap in the fossil record of North American large predatory dinosaurs, during which the top predator role changed hands from carcharodontodsaurians in the Early Cretaceous to tyrannosaurs in the Late Cretaceous.
The lack of fossils left paleontologists unsure about when this change happened and if tyrannosaurus outcompeted carcharodontosaurs, or assumed that niche following carcharodontosaur extinction.