Science and Nature

Huge ‘shark-toothed’ dinosaur learned in Uzbekistan


An illustration of the

An illustration of the “shark-toothed” dinosaur Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis, who lived in what is now Uzbekistan about 90 million years within the past. (Picture credit: Julius Csotonyi)

About 90 million years within the past, a huge apex predator — a meat-drinking dinosaur with serrated shark-devour enamel — prowled what is now Uzbekistan, based fully on a novel uncover about of the behemoth’s jawbone.

The 26-foot-prolonged (8 meters) beast weighed 2,200 kilos (1,000 kilograms), making it longer than an African elephant and heavier than a bison. Researchers named it Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis, after Ulugh Beg, a 15th-century astronomer, mathematician and sultan from what is now Uzbekistan.

What caught scientists without note turn out to be as soon as that the dinosaur turn out to be as soon as grand greater — twice the size and greater than 5 times heavier — than its ecosystem’s beforehand identified apex predator: a tyrannosaur, the researchers learned. 

Linked: The 10 coolest dinosaur findings of 2020 

The chunk of jawbone turn out to be as soon as learned in Uzbekistan’s Kyzylkum Barren region within the 1980s, and researchers rediscovered it in 2019 in an Uzbekistan museum series.

The partial jawbone of U. uzbekistanensis is adequate to counsel that the animal turn out to be as soon as a carcharodontosaur, or a “shark-toothed” dinosaur. These carnivores own been cousins and competitors of tyrannosaurs, whose most illustrious species is Tyrannosaurus rex

The two dinosaur teams own been relatively same, nevertheless carcharodontosaurs own been customarily extra narrow and evenly-constructed than the heavyset tyrannosaurs, said uncover about co-researcher Darla Zelenitsky, an affiliate professor of paleobiology at the College of Calgary. Even so, carcharodontosaurs own been frequently greater than tyrannosaur dinosaurs, reaching weights elevated than 13,200 kilos (6,000 kg). Then, spherical 90 million to 80 million years within the past, the carcharodontosaurs disappeared and the tyrannosaurs grew in dimension, taking on as apex predators in Asia and North The usa. 

Two late Cretaceous dinosaur apex predators: a carcharodontosaur (left) and a tyrannosaur (right).

Two gradual Cretaceous dinosaur apex predators: a carcharodontosaur (left) and a tyrannosaur (accurate form). (Picture credit: Darla Zelenitsky)

The unique finding is the first carcharodontosaur dinosaur learned in Central Asia, the researchers eminent. Paleontologists already knew that the tyrannosaur Timurlengia lived at the identical time and space, nevertheless at 13 feet (4 m) in dimension and about 375 kilos (170 kg) in weight, Timurlengia turn out to be as soon as several times smaller than U. uzbekistanensis, suggesting that U. uzbekistanensis turn out to be as soon as the apex predator in that ecosystem, gobbling up horned dinosaurs, prolonged-necked sauropods and ostrich-devour dinosaurs within the neighborhood, the group said. 

“Our discovery signifies carcharodontosaurs own been aloof dominant predators in Asia 90 million years within the past,” uncover about lead researcher Kohei Tanaka, an assistant professor at the Graduate College of Lifestyles and Environmental Sciences at the College of Tsukuba in Japan, urged Are residing Science in an email.

An illustration of the enormous carcharodontosaur Ulughbegsaurus with the smaller tyrannosaur Timurlengia.

An illustration of the big carcharodontosaur Ulughbegsaurus with the smaller tyrannosaur Timurlengia. (Picture credit: Julius Csotonyi)

Peter Makovicky, a professor of paleontology at the College of Minnesota who turn out to be as soon as no longer inquisitive in regards to the uncover about, agreed that U. uzbekistanensis turn out to be as soon as probably at the end of the native food chain. “I feel this bone is so big that this might maybe own been a very astronomical predatory dinosaur and intensely probably the apex predator in its ecosystem,” Makovicky urged Are residing Science. 

Picture 1 of 4

This chunk of jawbone is all that paleontologists have of the ancient dinosaur.

This chunk of jawbone is all that paleontologists own of the outdated dinosaur Ulughbegsaurus. (Picture credit: Tanaka et al 2021)

Picture 2 of 4

This map shows where the dinosaur fossil was found in Uzbekistan.

This map reveals the put the Ulughbegsaurus fossil turn out to be as soon as learned in Uzbekistan. (Picture credit: Tanaka et al. 2021)

Picture 3 of 4

A reconstruction of Ulughbegsaurus's upper jaw and teeth.

A reconstruction of Ulughbegsaurus’s upper jaw and enamel. (Picture credit: Dinosaur Valley Studios)

Picture 4 of 4

Study researchers Kohei Tanaka (left)and Darla Zelenitsky (right).

Watch researchers Kohei Tanaka (left) and Darla Zelenitsky (accurate form). (Picture credit: College of Calgary)

The U. uzbekistanensis finding is the closing identified prevalence of a carcharodontosaur and a tyrannosaur residing together sooner than the carcharodontosaurs went extinct, the group said. The group learned that U. uzbekistanensis has unparalleled bony bumps above its enamel. On the other hand, it also has bony ridges on the perimeters of its jaw that own been the same to the 79.5 million-yr-mature tyrannosaur Thanatotheristes degrootorum (whose title potential “reaper of death“) from what is now Canada. It’s unclear why every species own these ridges, nevertheless maybe or no longer it is a case of convergent evolution, when species that are no longer intently associated evolve to own same characteristics, Zelenitsky said.

The uncover about turn out to be as soon as published online Wednesday (Sept. 8) within the journal Royal Society Originate Science.

Originally published on Are residing Science.

Laura Geggel

Laura is an editor at Are residing Science. She edits Lifestyles’s Cramped Mysteries and experiences on general science, in conjunction with archaeology and animals. Her work has seemed in The Novel York Times, Scholastic, Standard Science and Spectrum, a put on autism research. She has obtained just a few awards from the Society of Skilled Journalists and the Washington Newspaper Publishers Affiliation for her reporting at a weekly newspaper shut to Seattle. Laura holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and psychology from Washington College in St. Louis and an superior certificates in science writing from NYU.

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