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Announcing Teratophoneus, the Kaiparowits tyrannosaurine

Introducing the latest tyrannosaurid: Teratophoneus curriei ("Currie's
monster murderer"):

Carr, T.D., T.E. Williamson, B.B. Britt & K. Stadtman. in press. Evidence
for high taxonomic and morphologic tyrannosauroid diversity in the Late
Cretaceous (Late Campanian) of the American Southwest and a new
short-skulled tyrannosaurid from the Kaiparowits formation of Utah.
Naturwissenschaften. Online First. DOI: 10.1007/s00114-011-0762-7

The fossil record of late Campanian tyrannosauroids of western North
America has a geographic gap between the Northern Rocky Mountain Region
(Montana, Alberta) and the Southwest (New Mexico, Utah). Until recently,
diagnostic tyrannosauroids from the Southwest were unknown until the
discovery of Bistahieversor sealeyi from the late Campanian of New Mexico.
Here we describe an incomplete skull and postcranial skeleton of an
unusual tyrannosaurid from the Kaiparowits Formation (Late Cretaceous) of
Utah that represents a new genus and species, Teratophoneus curriei.
Teratophoneus differs from other tyrannosauroids in having a short skull,
as indicated by a short and steep maxilla, abrupt angle in the postorbital
process of the jugal, laterally oriented paroccipital processes, short
basicranium, and reduced number of teeth. Teratophoneus is the sister
taxon of the Daspletosaurus + Tyrannosaurus clade and it is the most basal
North American tyrannosaurine. The presence of Teratophoneus suggests that
dinosaur faunas were regionally endemic in the west during the upper
Campanian. The divergence in skull form seen in tyrannosaurines indicates
that the skull in this clade had a wide range of adaptive morphotypes.

This is the "Utah Taxon" that's been in a number of Carr (et various)
phylogenetic analyses.

Mass estimates place it about twice the size of Alioramus, and thus only
about 1/10th that of Tyrannosaurus rex.

Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
Email: tholtz@umd.edu   Phone: 301-405-4084
Office: Centreville 1216
Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Dept. of Geology, University of Maryland
Fax: 301-314-9661

Faculty Director, Science & Global Change Program, College Park Scholars
Fax: 301-314-9843

Mailing Address:        Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                        Department of Geology
                        Building 237, Room 1117
                        University of Maryland
                        College Park, MD 20742 USA