A dinosaur species with a nose for trouble was recently identified by Scottish and Chinese researchers.
Nicknamed “Pinocchio rex,” the 66-million-year-old cousin of the famed Tyrannosaurus rex had a long, slender nose studded with tiny horns.
Researchers from Edinburgh University and the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences describe Pinocchio rex in a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications.
"It had the familiar toothy grin of T. rex, but its snout was long and slender," Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist at Edinburgh and co-author of the study, told the BBC. "It might have looked a little comical, but it would have been as deadly as any other tyrannosaur, and maybe even a little faster and stealthier.”
The fossilized remains of Pinocchio rex were uncovered from a construction site near the city of Ganzhou in southern China. Workers took the fossils to the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, which joined with a team in Scotland to examine the remains.
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Based on analysis of the fossils, Pinocchio rex would have stood about 29 feet long and weighed 1,800 pounds.
Researchers say the discovery of Qianzhousaurus sinensis settles a long debate over the existence of long-snouted tyrannosaurs. According to National Geographic, paleontologists have found only two fossilized tyrannosaurs with long noses. Both were uncovered in Mongolia.
For a long time, scientists didn’t know if the strange fossils represented a new class of dinosaur or belonged to the tyrannosaur family. The discovery of Pinocchio rex suggests that long-snouted tyrannosaurs were a distinct breed.
Pinocchio rex’s nose was about 35 percent longer than other dinosaurs of its size, but researchers aren’t yet sure why.