By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
Utah must have been a very popular hangout for large predatory dinosaurs, because another set of mega carnivore (meat-eater) fossils has been found! Meet the Siats meekerorum, whose name refers to a man-eating monster from Ute Native American mythology.
This huge predator actually used to intimidate the T. Rex, and it wasn’t until the dino went extinct that the Tyrannosaurus was able to evolve into its bigger version. The Siats kept all the other dinosaurs small, terrorizing them to prevent them from becoming the number one predator.
This latest find follows the one from a few weeks ago, when fossils turned up in Utah from the feathered “uncle” of T. Rex – the Lythronax (whose name means “King of Gore”).
As for the Siats, it weighed more than 4 tons and was over 30 feet long. While it was second only to the T. Rex, it’s not a relative like the feathered Lythronax. For over 60 years, though, scientists haven’t found these kinds of dinosaurs, so this fossil discovery is one of the most important in a long time. It also bridges a 30-million-year gap in the North American fossil record for big dino predators. “Siats is just the tip of the iceberg; our teams are unearthing a lost dinosaurian ecosystem right here in the badlands of western North America,” says Lindsay Zanno, director of Paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
Featured image courtesy of Jorge Gonzalez and The Field Museum. Image of Siats with its kill courtesy of Lindsay Zanno and Julio Lacerda.