Reconstruction of Timurlengia euotica.png

Timurlengia is a genus of tyrannosaur from the Late Cretaceous (90 mya) of the Kyzylkum Desert in northern Uzbekistan. It is named after Tamerlane, a Central Asian ruler. It is an important discovery, as it fills in a 20 million year gap in tyrannosaur evolution. It was about the size of a horse and weighed up to 250 kilograms. This showed that large size didn't evolve until close to the end of the tyrannosaur evolutionary line. It had long legs and a skull filled with sharp teeth, which likely made it a pursuit hunter that could run at great speeds. It was much smaller than Tyrannosaurus rex, but its brain and senses were already highly developed, just like its infamous North American cousin.

Discovery

From 1944 onwards, tyrannosauroid fossil material consisting of single bones has been described from the Bissekty Formation by Soviet or Russian researchers. In the year of 2004 a team discovered a braincase, which would have anchored the dinosaur’s neck muscles and protected its brain and ear canals. The braincase was stored in a cardboard box in the Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, until tyrannosaur expert Steve Brusatte identified it as a distinctive new species in 2014.

Description

Most of the fossils indicate that Timurlengia was a theropod dinosaur the size of a horse, about 3–4 m (9.8–13.1 ft) in length, with a weight of about 170-270 kilograms. However, they are of subadult individuals, that were not yet fully grown. ZIN PH 1239/16 represents a larger, adult, animal, that might've reached around 4-5 meters in length, about the size of a juvenile Ceratosaurus.

Phylogeny

Paleobiology

Paleontology

Timurlengia was likely a pursuit hunter with blade-like teeth for slicing through meat, based on its skeletal remains. The Timurlengia probably strode across terrain, after prey, or could even actually give chase, based on its smaller size, it might've dodged around obstacles, to attack its prey. The robustness of the semicircular inner ear canals might be related to a greater agility. Timurlengia has a long cochlear duct, with the same height as the labyrinth, an adaptation to hearing low-frequency sounds. This might be an indication that the animal used low calls to communicate within the species.

Gallery

Timurlengia/Gallery

References

http://www.sci-news.com/paleontology/timurlengia-euotica-new-species-tyrannosaur-uzbekistan-03702.html

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