By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
If the Tyrannosaurus rex told a lie too many times, it just might end up looking like its recently discovered long-nosed cousin: Qianzhousaurus sinensis (nicknamed “Pinocchio” rex). The beast’s near complete skull fossil was unearthed in Ganzhou, China, and provides the first real proof that some tyrannosaurs had mega snouts.
Paleontologists, scientists who study fossils and prehistoric life, had previously found 2 younger tyrannosaur bones with lengthy noses. However, that just meant the juvenile tyrannosaurs might have undergone an awkward teenage growth stage before looking normal.
Now, paleontologists can finally confirm there were indeed tyrannosaurs with a big schnozzes, because the Qianzhousaurus sinensis bones are from a specimen that was nearing adulthood.
Of course, both the bones and the scientists would have still been in the dark if it wasn’t for several construction workers stumbling upon them, and then taking the precious remains to a museum. Researchers excitedly examined the incredibly rare skeleton and concluded that Pinocchio rex likely roamed the Earth over 66 million years ago in Asia, during a time known as the late Cretaceous period. While a T. rex had more powerful jaws and thicker teeth, its cousin’s slender face didn’t make it any less deadly. In fact, one of the study’s authors thinks it may have been faster and stealthier!
Featured image courtesy of Chuang Zhao.