Friday, November 25, 2011

Albertosaurus

Albertosaurus
Albertosaurus is a Cretaceous carnivore named for the Canadian province of its discovery It was first discovered by J.B. Tyrell  in 1884, and was officially identified as a species in 1905.

As a member of the family Tyrannosauridae, Albertosaurus is a relative to the T. Rex. They share many physical similarities, including a large skull, small forelimbs, and powerful hind legs. Albertosaurus, however, was smaller than the T. Rex, and predated it by a few million years. They were probably very fast runners, and could recovered from stumbles and falls easier than their larger relatives.

Skull Cast
Albertosaurus had quite a few teeth. 14-16 on the lower jaw, and 17-19 on the upper. Though they had only one row of teeth at a given time, there was always a replacement growing in the jaw in case a tooth fell out!

We actually know quite a bit about the Albertosaurus, as there have been fossils of over 30 different individuals discovered. Not only are there numerous fossils, but the individuals that they represent span a large age range. That, combined with the fact that many of the fossils were found on one site, suggests that the Albertosaurus lived in large pack groups.

There is a little bit of confusion surrounding the species within the Albertosaurus genus. A. sarcophagus has long been considered the type species, but for a long time a second species A. libratus was also classified with the genus. Studies have been done to determine whether these two Dinosaurs belong so closely related, and now there are many who have changed A. libratus  to Gorgosaurus libratus.

Status : Extinct for 70 million years
Location : Western North America
Size : Length up to 33ft (10m), Weight up to 5,500lbs (2,500kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Reptilia -- Order : Saurischia
Family : †Tyrannosauridae -- Genus : †Albertosaurus -- Species : A. sarcophagus

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