Killer dinosaur found in Utah; preceded T. rex

November 22, 2013 - 4:35 PM
Dinosaur Discovery

This undated artist rendering provided by The Field Museum shows a newly discovered dinosaur named Siats meekerorum. Researchers at The Field Museum, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and North Carolina State University discovered the giant predatory dinosaur that walked the Earth approximately 100 million years ago, in the Cedar Mountain Formation in Utah. The new dinosaur is the first of its kind to be discovered in North America. The study appears in the Nov. 22, 2013 issue of Nature Communications. (AP Photo/The Field Museum)

NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists have discovered a killer dinosaur that roamed in what is now Utah some 100 million years ago. Experts say the discovery provides insight into the top predators in North America before T. rex showed up.

The two-legged beast was estimated to stretch more than 30 feet long and weigh more than 3 tons. It helps fill a gap in the fossil record of big North American predators between earlier killer beasts and the arrival of the group including T. rex. It wasn't related to that famous beast.

Researchers from the Field Museum in Chicago and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh announced the finding Friday in the journal Nature Communications. They named the beast Siats meekerorum, (SEE'-otts MEE-ke-ROH'-ruhm) after a man-eating monster of legend from Utah's Ute tribe, and a family that has donated to the Field Museum.

The specimen discovered in 2008 in Utah was a juvenile. Researchers estimated the adult size by extrapolating from the recovered fossils, which included bones of the back, tail, hip, foot and shin.

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Nature Communications: http://www.nature.com/ncomms