The Oldest T-Rex in the World, “Reaper of Death,” Was Discovered in Canada

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When it comes to dinosaurs, age doesn’t seem to be discrimination criteria anymore. Children and grownup scientists are just as fascinated. So, the discovery of yet another member of the Tyrannosaurus Rex (T[Rex) family is a reason for common joy.

Canada has its Reaper of Death. Thanatotheristes degrootorum. It lived in the northern plains of America 80 million years ago. This means several million years before relative that became famous for acting in Steven Spielberg’s movie Jurassic Park and receiving three Oscars.

The new Reaper of Death’s name is originated in Thanatos, the ancient Greek god that ruled over the realm of the dead. Thanatotheristes degrootorum is the Greek for “Reaper of Death.” It looks like it the oldest member of the T-Rex family. It was the last known member of the tyrannosaurids, and among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.

Family history

Tyrannosaurus rex was one of the largest land carnivores of all time. A complete specimen measures up to 12.3 meters in length. T. rex could grow to 14 metric tons in weight. It was rivaled and even exceeded in size by other dinosaurs, but it is still among the most massive known land predators. Also, it is estimated to have had the strongest bite force among all terrestrial animals. The possible maximum running speeds for Tyrannosaurus were around 11 meters per second, that’s 40 kilometers per hour.

A little bit of trivia

Most paleontologists today accept that Tyrannosaurus was both an active predator and a scavenger. Scavengers are animals that consume dead organisms that have died from causes other than predation.

“Because of the nature of the food chain, these large apex predators were rare compared to herbivorous or plant-eating dinosaurs,” said Darla Zelenitsky, assistant professor of Dinosaur Paleobiology at the University of Calgary in Canada. But scavenging is also herbivorous feeding behavior, so, maybe, not that rare. Anyway, scavenging is not very royal behavior. And neither is acting in movies, T-Rex!

As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.