New 'Pinocchio Rex' dinosaur unearthed in Ganzhou

By Rebecca Unsworth, May 9, 2014

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A comical-looking dinosaur which scientists are calling 'Pinocchio Rex' because of its long nose, has been discovered by a group of construction workers in Ganzhou.

The workers found the creature's bones and took them to a local museum. Experts from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences then took over examination of the remains.

The creature is believed to date from the last Cretaceous Period, over 66 million years ago, and lived in Asia. The dinosaur- whose proper name is Qianzhousaurus sinensis- had an elongated skull and long, narrow teeth, and would have been a fearsome carnivore despite its entertaining appearance.

The remains also proves the existence of dinosaurs with elongated heads. Previously only two juveniles with the unusual head shaped had been unearthed, with paleontologists unsure whether they were a new class of dinosaur or simply at an early growth stage.

Dr Steve Brusatte from Edinburgh University's School of Geosciences, said: "This is a different breed of tyrannosaur. It has the familiar toothy grin of T rex, but its snout was much longer and it had a row of horns on its nose. It might have looked a little comical, but it would have been as deadly as any other tyrannosaur, and maybe even a little faster and stealthier. It is an awesome specimen, almost a complete skeleton. It is a really one-in-a-million find that those workers made."

Scientists have added a new branch to the tyrannosaur family for creatures with long snouts, and they expect more dinosaurs to be added to the group as excavations in Asia continue to unearth new remains.

A professor at the institute of geology at the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, Junchang Lu, said: "The new discovery is very important. Along with alioramus from Mongolia, it shows that the long-snouted tyrannosaurids were widely distributed in Asia. Although we are only starting to learn about them, the long-snouted tyrannosaurs were apparently one of the main groups of predatory dinosaurs in Asia."

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