We all know how massive and gigantic the Tyrannosaurus Rex is, but I bet many would be surprised to know that it’s ancestor was 100 times smaller than the alleged ‘King of Dinosaurs’.
T. Rex was about 40 feet long, 20 feet tall and weighing around 7 tons and lived some 90 million years ago. At that time, it was one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs that walked the planet.
ScienceDaily reported that scientists have announced just recently, their discovery of a fossil that belonged to the ancestor of T. Rex that had all its defining anatomical features but in a much smaller scale.
Raptorex displays all the hallmarks of its famous descendant, Tyrannosaurus rex, including a large head compared to its torso, tiny arms and lanky feet well-suited for running. The Raptorex brain cast also displayed enlarged olfactory bulbs—as in T. rex—indicating a highly developed sense of smell.
Scientists marvel at how scalable the body design of T. Rex was and perhaps it could’ve taken up new dimensions if it weren’t for that cataclysmic event that wiped out the dinosaurs took place around 65 millions years ago.
I’m not that surprised as evolutionary biology has taught me that large-sized organisms usually evolved from a smaller ancestor because at that time they weren’t the among the dominant species in their niche. One example would whales, they’re the largest living organisms ever in the history of earth yet they evolved from deer-like mammals presumed to be either Pakicetids or Indohyus.
But can you imagine seeing a Raptorex standing next to its descendant the T. Rex? It’s really a case of seeing Dr. Evil and his scaled-down clone, Mini-Me.
*Raptorex will appear in the world premiere special BIZARRE DINOS, on the National Geographic Channel at 8 p.m. ET/PT Sunday, Oct. 11.