Dinosaurs are undisputedly the most fascinating animals (aside from the Kardashians apparently) to have ever walked planet. Yet, paleontologists really have a penchant for hyping them up even further with some saucy Latin names. The Lythronax argestes, unveiled in Utah for the first time in on Wednesday, is no exception — its first name means "the king of gore."
The literal Latin translation, "Gore King from the Southwest" might be even cooler. This monster, complete with banana-sized teeth, joins the pantheon of great dinosaur names like the Tyrannosaurus Rex ("Tyrant Lizard King"), Brontosaurus ("Thunder Beast"), and Utahraptor ("Robber from Utah.")
The beast is thought to be the "great-uncle" of the T-Rex, measuring in at around 24 feet long, 8 feet tall at its hip — the "king of gore" was just a tad bit smaller than a T-Rex— and was peppered with scales and feathers. "That skull is designed for grabbing something, shaking it to death and tearing it apart," according to one of the scientists who helped discover the beast.
Paleontologists love the Lythronax ... even though it represents a big mistake in their field. You see, the King of Gore is actually much older than the T-Rex, and is proof that gigantic carnivorous dinos were around some 10 million years earlier than previously believed. "This one is the first example of these kind of dinosaurs being the ruler of the land," Thomas Holtz Jr., a vertebrate paleontologist at the University of Maryland told the AP.
And there's possibly more where Lythronax came from. Alan Titus, the supervising paleontologist who oversaw the discovery of Lythronax said they've barely scratched the fossil surface.
There are about 1 million acres of cretaceous rocks that could be holding other new species of dinosaurs, said Titus, the BLM paleontologist who oversees the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Only about 10 percent of the rock formation has been scoured, he said. Twelve other new dinosaurs found there are waiting to be named.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.