‘Tinysaurus Rex’ just nine foot long
and weighing the same as a human discovered

A mini Tyrannosaurus Rex which weighs the same as a human has been discovered for the first time.

The ‘Tinysaurus’, a new type of dinosaur called a Raptorex, is almost 100 times smaller than a T. Rex and roamed the earth around 30 million years before its fearsome descendent.

It has all the same features as a full size T. Rex, including a large powerful jaw, tiny arms, and lanky, muscular legs.

A cast of the dinosaur’s brain also reveals that it had enlarged olfactory bulbs - the part of the brain which registers smells - indicating that both creatures had a highly developed sense of smell that would have been essential to hunting.

Paul Sereno, a palaeontologist from the University of Chicago and one of the authors of the study, said: "Raptorex shows that tyrannosaur design evolved at ‘punk size’, basically our bodyweight.

"And that’s pretty staggering, because there’s no other example that I can think of where an animal has been so finely designed at about 100th the size that it would eventually become."

T. Rex’s are thought to have stalked the earth between 90 million and 65 million years ago, while the Raptorex roamed lakeside forests in northern China about 125 million years ago.

Henry Kriegstein, a private fossil collector, brought the nearly complete Raptorex skeleton to the research team’s attention after buying it from a vendor.

After the researchers have finished a more detailed study of the Raptorex they intend to return it to a museum in Inner Mongolia, where they believe that fossil was originally illicitly excavated.

The team which analysed the dinosaur, full name Raptorex kriegsteini, estimate that it was a young adult, aged between five and six years old, when it died, and that it weighed just over 10 stone.

They examined the skull, teeth, nose, spine, shoulders, forearms, pelvis, and hind legs of the new fossil, before comparing it features to larger evolutionary versions of tyrannosauroid dinosaurs.

The researchers conclude that the "predatory skeletal design" of the Raptorex was simply scaled up with little modification to become its larger descendant.

The Raptorex will feature in a special programme, called "Bizarre Dinos" on the National Geographic Channel on October 11.

The findings were published online by the journal Science.

© The Telegraph Group

London 2009

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