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Nanotyrannus (Burpee Museum of Natural History)


Nanotyrannus (Greek for "tiny tyrant"); pronounced NAH-no-tih-RAN-us


Woodlands of North America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (70 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 17 feet long and half a ton


Herbivorous dinosaurs

Distinguishing Characteristics:

Small size; forward-facing eyes; sharp teeth


About Nanotyrannus:

When the skull of Nanotyrannus ("tiny tyrant") was discovered in 1942, it was identified as belonging to another dinosaur, Albertosaurus--but upon closer study, researchers speculated that it might have been left by an entirely new genus of tyrannosaur. Today, opinion is divided into two camps: some paleontologists believe Nanotyrannus indeed deserves its own genus, while others insist it's a juvenile Tyrannosaurus Rex. Further complicating matters, it's possible that Nanotyrannus wasn't a tyrannosaur at all, but a dromaeosaur (the class of small, carnivorous, bipedal dinosaurs better known as raptors). Until more fossils are discovered--and until now, the evidence has been scanty at best--the arguments will likely continue.


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