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Teratophoneus was a genus of Tyrannosaurid dinosaurs that lived in the late Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period about 75-76 million years ago. This tyrannosaur was a medium-sized dinosaur whose fossils have been excavated in the Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah and is also the only known specimen from this site. The fossil remains of these tyrannosaurus specimens included a partial postcranial skeleton and a fragmentary skull. Many paleontologists believed that these tyrannosaurs were active and had a range all over the USA since certain fossil specimens have also been found in the same place and around the same time. The Teratophoneus dinosaurs were named by Thomas D. Carr, Thomas E. Williamson, Brooks B. Britt and Ken Stadtman in 2011. So the discovery of these dinosaurs is very recent! The unique name of this species meant 'monstrous murderer' and hence, they would have really been quite the terrifying dinosaurs of their age. Coming from the same family as the Tyrannosaurus-Rex or 'T-Rex', they weren't as deadly. These dinosaur species from the Late Cretaceous were also believed by many scientists to have been closely related to other large theropods like the Tarbosaurus but were more primitive in nature. This 'monstrous murderer' specimen had physical features that were also closely related to its relatives. The Teratophoneus skull was short and they had strong jaws, giving this dinosaur a bite that was powerful. This dinosaur's snout was quite prominent and was different from that of the T-Rex. These carnivores also had strong teeth that were slightly curved upwards and a long yet muscular tongue making it easy to tear into the carcasses of their prey. The teeth were also known to have replaced themselves through the dinosaur's life. The neck was not very long but it was strong enough to support the head. The limbs of these dinosaurs were very interesting. The arms were short with only two fingers, each having a curved claw. The legs, on other hand, were long and strong with the feet having three toes. Tehartophoneus preferred living in habitats that were terrestrial but still, slightly wet. This allowed them plenty of opportunities to attack prey. If you'd like to see a complete Teratophoneus skeleton, you can do so by visiting the Natural History Museum in Utah!
The pronunciation of Teratophoneus is 'Teh-rat-oh-foe-nee-us'. It was given its name by Thomas D. Carr, Thomas E. Williamson, Brooks B. Britt and Ken Stadtman in 2011. The name literally means 'monstrous murderer'! The species Teratophoneus curriei (T. curriei) was named in honor of Philip J. Currie, a paleontologist who is well-known around the world for his amazing work in the field of dinosaurs.
The Teratophoenus was a Tyrannosaur and came from the same family as a T-Rex. This tyrannosaurid has only a few specimens found and their fossils are considered to be rare. It was declared to be a basal tyrannosaurus in 2013.
Teratophoneus lived during the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous about 75-76 million years ago in North America. The fossils of this tyrannosaur specimen were discovered in the Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah. The complete skeleton of this animal now resides in the Natural History Museum in Utah, USA.
It is not known when exactly these dinosaurs of the Tyrannosaurus group went extinct but it would have roughly been about 66 million years when huge extinction events took place. Their existence could have also been wiped out due to factors like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, meteorite hits, and other such natural calamities and disasters.
This animal must have preferred living in a terrestrial habitat and they were also quite territorial with the places they lived in.
With fossils discovered in the Kaparowits formation of southern Utah, it was concluded that this tyrannosaurid lived near floodplains, estuaries, and salt marshes. Inhabiting these places also made access to prey much easier.
Thomas Carr, a famous paleontologist and dinosaur expert, stated these dinosaurs could have lived and hunted in groups. Furthermore, a scientific journal called Peer J also suggested that this animal would have definitely operated in a group. The pack behavior was also similar to that of lions and wolves.
The Teratophoneus could have possibly lived for about 70-80 years, although this number is not precise.
There is not much information available on how these dinosaurs reproduced. The reproduction pattern in this animal was mostly oviparous meaning that they gave birth by laying eggs. The young were known to have become independent at an early age with excellent parental care given by the parents.
The Teratophoneus lived during the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period and its fossil remains were discovered in the Kaiparowits formation of North America. Growing to around 236.2 in (6 m) in length and 102.3 in (2.6 m) in height, this genus of tyrannosaurs had a short skull that indicated the jaws to be strong. This would also mean that they had a powerful bite, one which the prey couldn't escape! The teeth were pointed, sharp, and slightly curved, making it easier to tear into carcasses. The teeth replaced themselves throughout the life of the dinosaur. The tongue was muscular, long, and quite flexible. The skull also portrayed a prominent snout that was deeper and shorter in comparison to their relatives. The blunt skull was supported by a neck that wasn't so long. The legs were long and sturdy with the feet consisting of three toes. The arms were much shorter with the two fingers having a curved claw. Its tail was mostly of the ground and gave it balance when it ran or walked.
The number of bones that Teratophoneus had is not known at the moment due to lack of sufficient evidence but they would have definitely had over 100 bones in total! The unearthed fossils so far include a fragmentary skull and partial remains of the rest of the body.
These dinosaurs communicated with each other in the form of loud grows and calls. Body language was also utilized by them to ensure that they sent their message across to the other.
This tyrannosaur was not very big. The Teratophoneus size was about 236.2 in (6 m) in length and 102.3 in (2.6 m) was the Teratophoneus height, the same as beluga or a white shark!
The speed at which the Teratophoenus moved is not exactly known but they would have moved at about 32 mph (51.4 kph) like all its large relatives.
This dinosaur weighed about 1477.1 lb (670 kg).
There are no particular male or female names for these tyrannosaurus dinosaurs. They are simply called Teratophoenus or Teratophoneus curriei.
A baby Teratophoneus is called a hatchling or a nestling, just like every other baby dinosaur!
This dinosaur had a carnivorous diet. They fed largely on smaller dinosaurs, animals, and fish. Sharing their habitats with other large theropods also made them easy prey!
These animals would have been quite aggressive, their wild nature similar to that of any carnivore. They would have displayed a certain level of aggression if they, their territories, or their young ones were threatened or harmed in any way. At times, they would evade a large theropod by going into caves or holes in mountains for safety.
A large variety of early mammals existed along with this dinosaur like marsupials, insectivorans, and multituberculates!
The name 'Teratophoneus' means 'monstrous murderer' and this name was generic. The specific name which was Teratophoneus curriei was given to honor the world acclaimed paleontologist, Philip J. Currie.
They were not big but rather medium or average-sized when compared to other dinosaurs of their age or even group. A complete skeleton of this animal can be found in the Natural History Museum of Utah.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Rahonavis facts, or Chilantaisaurus facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Teratophoneus coloring pages.
Main image by PaleoGeekSquared.
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