Ancestor of Kings: Early progenitor of T. rex had a crest

10:10am, February 8, 2006

Paleontologists have unearthed remains of the oldest known dinosaur of the tyrannosaur clan. About 160 million years ago, the agile, 3-meter-long predator roamed what is now northwestern China. Its fossils bolster a recent theory about the evolutionary origins of the fearsome meat eaters that appeared later.

Dubbed Guanlong wucaii, which in Mandarin means "crowned dragon from the five-colored rocks," the newly described creature gets its genus name from the distinctive, 6-centimeter-tall crest that runs along the top of its snout, says James M. Clark, a vertebrate paleontologist at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

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