Brevia

A Southern Tyrant Reptile

Science  26 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5973, pp. 1613
DOI: 10.1126/science.1187456

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Abstract

Tyrannosaurids monopolized the apex predator niche in latest Cretaceous Laurasia. Unfortunately, the preceding 100-million-year tyrannosauroid lineage is poorly documented, and its fossil record is restricted to the northern continents. We report an Australian tyrannosauroid, represented by a pubis from the late Early Cretaceous of Victoria. This demonstrates that these extraordinarily successful predators were not restricted to Laurasia. The advanced morphology and small size of the specimen shows that tyrannosauroids with the characteristic short arms and robust skulls probably had a global distribution in the Early Cretaceous. Thus, a potentially cosmopolitan grade of small tyrannosauroids with a tyrannosaurid-like body plan preceded the Late Cretaceous rise of the colossal tyrannosaurids.

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