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A T. rex and a shark as neighbors? Sure, eons in the past in South Dakota

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(Reuters) – Scientists conducting a current painstaking examination of the 2 tons of rock left over after the fossilized bones of the celebrated Tyrannosaurus rex named Sue have been extricated within the 1990s got here throughout a shock: shark tooth.

The massive meat-eating dinosaur didn’t meet its demise in a shark assault in some form of “Jaws” meets “Jurassic Park” monster mash. However, scientists mentioned on Monday, when the 40-1/2-foot-long (12.3-meter) Sue died some 67 million years in the past, the beast fell right into a South Dakota river teeming with sharks – albeit small ones – thriving within the freshwater setting.

The skeleton of Sue, the most important, most full and best-preserved T. rex ever unearthed, is displayed on the Discipline Museum in Chicago, which saved the leftover rock for years in underground storage. That rock has now yielded fossils from different creatures that have been Sue’s neighbors together with a shark species referred to as Galagadon nordquistae.

Galagadon, associated to a gaggle referred to as carpet sharks present in Indo-Pacific seas at the moment, measured 1-2 toes (0.3-0.6 meters) lengthy, with tooth the scale of a sand grain, about four-hundredths of an inch (1 millimeter). Tyrannosaurus tooth have been as much as a foot lengthy (30 centimeters).

If Galagadon ever interacted with Sue, it could have been when the thirsty dinosaur got here to the river for a gulp of water. “It could not shock me in any respect if a T. rex particular person scared just a little Galagadon because it lowered its head to drink,” mentioned North Carolina State College paleontologist Terry “Bucky” Gates, lead writer of the analysis revealed within the Journal of Paleontology.

If Galagadon resembled its present relations, it was a blunt-faced bottom-dweller with barbels by its mouth like a catfish and camouflage patterning.

“The tooth have an uncommon form with three unequal factors and a large apron on the root. Among the tooth bear an uncanny resemblance to the spaceship within the 1980s arcade recreation ‘Galaga,’ which impressed the genus title,” mentioned co-author Pete Makovicky, a paleontologist and Discipline Museum dinosaur curator.

Scientists are also learning fossils of a minimum of two different shark species from Sue’s river. Nearly all sharks reside within the sea, although two freshwater species at the moment reside completely in rivers and lakes, and another species enterprise into freshwater.

“I doubt Galagadon spent its entire life in freshwater habitats,” Makovicky mentioned, suggesting its river could have been linked to an inland sea 100 miles (160 km) away that on the time cut up North America in half

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Enhancing by Sandra Maler)

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