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Researchers at the University of Washington have unearthed a doozy: A four-foot long (1.2 m) specimen weighing 2,500 pounds, found in a rocky hillside in Montana.

Massive Tyrannosaurus skull discovered


Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Saturday, August 20, 2016, 10:57 AM - With the exception of Velociraptors, no other dinosaur captures the popular imagination like Tyrannosaurus rex.

One of the largest apex predators to have ever lived, it shared its fate with the other species of the Cretaceous Period, going extinct in the global nuclear winter that followed an asteroid impact 65 million years ago.

Other research suggests history's most famous meteor was just the deathblow in a long demise hastened by volcanic eruptions in India's Deccan Flats, which lowered global temperatures.

However T. rex went out, the occasional fossil is a worthy, if rare, find, but researchers at the University of Washington have unearthed a doozy: An individual with a four-foot long (1.2 m) skull weighing 2,500 pounds, found in a rocky hillside in Montana.

RELATED: This strange new dinosaur was discovered by a seven-year-old

In a release from the university, researchers say it took 45 people to excavate the site, which included the T. rex's ribs, vertebrae and parts of the individual's jaw and pelvis. The specimen has been dubbed the Tufts-Love Rex in honour of the two volunteers who unearthed it.

At the time of its death, the animal was likely 15 years old, and about 85 per cent of the maximum size of the species, which could grow up to 12 m long and 6 m tall, according to National Geographic.

Despite T. rex's fame, there are actually very few known specimens in the fossil record, and most are incomplete. The university says this particular find is only around one of 25 of "this level of completeness," and the skull is one of only 15 such.

"Having seen the ‘Tufts-Love Rex’ during its excavation I can attest to the fact that it is definitely one of the most significant specimens yet found, and because of its size, is sure to yield important information about the growth and possible eating habits of these magnificent animals," Jack Horner, a research associate at the university's Burke Museum, said in a release.

RELATED: Here's where to find Canada's oldest dinosaur bones

That part of western North America is famous for being a dinosaur hotspot, home to many iconic species such as T. rex and Triceratops, and Canada is no slouch at the paleontology game either, particularly Alberta.

Numerous species have been unearthed in that province, whose Dinosaur Provincial Park, home to more than 40 species, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

SOURCES:

University of Washington | National Geographic |

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