Dr François Therrien, Curator of Dinosaur Palaeoecology at the Royal Tyrrell Museum states:
'We are thrilled to announce the first new species of tyrannosaur to be discovered in Canada in 50 years. This discovery is significant because it fills in a gap in our understanding of tyrannosaur evolution,’
The 'Reaper of Death' is also known as Thanatotheristes, a name inspired by the Greek God of death Thanatos. This lonely giant was alive 80 million years ago, that's 2.5 million years before its closest relative. The Thanatotheristes predated the T-Rex and would have been the only known large apex predator of its time.
The species was discovered by Jared Voris, a PhD student at the University of Calgary and published in the journal Cretaceous Research. Impressions have it that the dinosaur much like the T-Rex had a long snout and bumps on its skull. Many tyrannosaurs have differences in skull shape that allow them to be identified, this is speculated to be due to the different diets of the dinosaurs in each region.
Voris' co-author, Darla Zelenitsky claims:
"There are very few species of tyrannosaurids, relatively speaking, because of the nature of the food chain these large apex predators were rare compared to herbivorous or plant-eating dinosaurs"
The bone fragments of the dinosaur were initially found by farmer and palaeontologist enthusiast, John De Groot in 2010 who stated:
"The jawbone was an absolutely stunning find, We knew it was special because you could clearly see the fossilised teeth."
Imagine finding that in your backyard!