Newly Discovered Fossil Dinosaurs May be Tyrannonsaur Ancestors

First Posted: Feb 15, 2016 09:03 AM EST

Scientists have uncovered evidence of new types of dinosaurs that may be tyrannosaur ancestors. The new fossil evidence reveals the presence of a much more diverse group of theropods than previously expected.

The fossils were discovered in the Wayan Formation, which occurs on land administered by Caribou-Targhee National Forest. The fossils represent at least three newly discovered types of theropod-the family of dominantly carnivorous dinosaurs which include animals such as Tyrannosaurus rex. In fact, these formerly unrecognized dinosaurs, which date back to about 95 million years ago, include small- to mid-sized tyrannosauroids. The possible larger tyrannosaurid was about the size of a horse, and the small one was more like a retriever-sized dog.

Among the researchers findings were a pair of fossilized eggs of a large oviraptorosaur, as well; this is the largest dinosaur known to have existed in Idaho. The eggs are actually the first evidence that oviraptorosaurs lives in the area at the time.

"We don't really have many dinosaurs from this period," said David J. Varricchio, one of the researchers, in a news release. "This new evidence is really filling in the time, temporal and space gap."

The findings reveal a bit more about the dinosaurs that existed in Idaho during the time of the middle Cretaceous period. This, in term, gives researchers a closer look at the conditions of that time.

The findings are published in the journal Historical Biology.

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