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Revealed--T-rex's ancestor.

An international team of scientists has found the remains of a 160-million-year-old dinosaur in the Junggar Basin in northwestern China, which is the earliest known fore-runner of the giant Tyranosaurus rex. Named Guanlong wucaii, the three-metre-long tyrannosaur dates from the Late Jurassic period.

"Guanlong shows us how the small coelurosaurian ancestors of tyrannosaurs took the first step that led to T-rex almost 100 million years later," said James M Clark of George Washington University.

The primitive, probably predatory, dinosaur sported an unusual crest to attract mates that would have been similar to the exaggerated ornamental features found today on such birds as hornbills.

Most tyrannosaur specimens date to the later Cretaceous period. The previous oldest was the 130-million-year-old Dilong paradoxus.

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Title Annotation:tyranosaurus rex
Author:Amodeo, Christian
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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