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.
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.