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Newly Discovered Tyrannosaurus Named ‘Reaper of Death’

Credit: The Royal Tyrrell Museum

Someone put this thing on an Iron Maiden album.

Thanks primarily to Jurassic Park, the tyrannosaurus-rex is well-known as one the largest apex predators of all currently known dinosaurs. However, thanks to a recent fossil discovery, we may have learned something new about T-Rexes: they had even meaner cousins.

Dinosaur bone fragments were discovered in southern Alberta, Canada, back in 2010, and earlier this week, they were finally identified as a relative of the tyrannosaurus. The discovery was made by a team of scientists from the University of Calgary and the Royal Tyrrell Museum, though the first one to actually uncover the fossils was John De Groot, a farmer and paleontology buff living in Alberta. The new specimen was named Thanatotheristes degrootorum- the first part of the name stems from Thanatos, the Greek god of death, and the word “theristes,” which means “one who reaps/harvests.” In other words, “the Reaper of Death.” Metal. The second part of the name came from De Groot as a reward for his discovery. Talk about lucky.

Based on the scientists’ analysis, the Reaper was around 30 feet in length, weighing up to two tonnes fully grown. One of its characteristics that separates it from traditional tyrannosaurs are the large, scar-like ridges that run along the surface of its mouth.

Credit: Julius Csotonyi

“Alberta has a rich dinosaur history, and we have uncovered some of the biggest finds on Earth here in the province,” François Therrien, of the Royal Tyrrell Museum, said in a statement. “The discovery of Thanatotheristes degrootorum is historic as it marks the first new species of tyrannosaur to be unearthed in Canada in 50 years. The last tyrannosaur described from Canada was Daspletosaurus in 1970.” The Reaper marks a fascinating entry into the evolutionary chart of the tyrannosaurs, and besides everything, just looks awesome as heck.