Nanotyrannus May Have Been Scarier Than T. Rex, And Here’s Why

If Tyrannosaurus rex was the lion of the Cretaceous dinosaur world, then the Nanotyrannus would have been the cheetah.

That’s according to Scott Persons, a graduate student in paleontology at the University of Alberta in Canada. He led a new study, published in the journal Scientific Reports on Wednesday, revealing that Nanotyrannus would have been the carnivorous dinosaur best adapted for speed more than 65 million years ago — that is, if the dinosaur even existed.

“It is hotly debated if Nanotyrannus was really a separate species or if its skeletons are just those of juvenile Tyrannosaurus,” Persons told The Huffington Post.

“I think Nanotyrannus probably was a separate species,” he said. “Nanotyrannus lived alongside T. rex, but was more lightly built and had proportionately much longer legs — indicating that it was a much faster runner.”

Persons and his supervisor at the university, paleontologist Dr. Philip Currie, analyzed the lower-leg lengths and body masses of 53 different carnivorous theropod dinosaurs. Theropods are the group of bipedal dinosaurs that includes T. rex, Allosaurus and Velociraptor.

Persons then used the analysis to develop a math equation to estimate each dinosaur’s speed: The longer the lower leg is compared to the upper leg, the faster the animal likely could have traveled, CBC News reported.

Based on the equation, the researchers found that the 5-meter-long Nanotyrannus would have been the fastest of all carnivorous theropods.

“As far as I’m concerned, it was the scariest dinosaur,” Persons said in a statement. “Sure, it might take it four to five bites to eat you, while T. rex could do it in just one or two. But eaten is eaten — and no dinosaur was better adapted to chase you down.”

Other scientists, however, think that more research is needed to —> Read More