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Pinocchio Rex tells new tales

Replica of T-Rex tooth
Diana Duel

Dead dinosaurs may not lie, but that hasn’t stopped scientists from dubbing a newly discovered long-nosed cousin of Tyrannosaurus “Pinocchio Rex.” Found in at a construction site in the Nanxiong Formation in southeastern China, the 30-foot long fossil (known officially as Qianzhousaurus sinensis) is believed to have lived some 66 million years ago and was probably “one of the last surviving dinosaurs that may even have witnessed the catastrophic asteroid that annihilated most of the life on the planet at that time,” according to paleontologist Steve Brusatte of the University of Edinburgh.

Deemed to be part of a previously unidentified clade (group of dinosaurs), “Pinocchio” is described as having “a long snout with many teeth, and horns on its nose, and probably weighed slightly less than a ton and was probably 25 to 30 feet in length.” In comparison, T-Rex was about 40-feet long and weighed in around 5 tons when fully grown.

“Although big and at the top of the food chain, the long-nosed dino wouldn't have been able to ‘crunch through bone’ like T. rex,” added Brusatte.

Brusatte and his colleagues have been analyzing the fossils, which are now being kept at the Ganzhou Museum in Ganzhou City, China. Details of their study can be viewed in today’s issue of the journal Nature Communication.