A Southern T-Rex Cousin

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77 million years ago, near Montgomery, there roamed a family member of the most feared of dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. This early relative’s discovery in the south is changing the way scientists look at tyrannosaurs.

The Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis, or “the Appalachian lizard from Montgomery County”, roamed parts of Alabama and Georgia long before North America became one continent. This cousin of T-Rex was smaller than the “King Lizard”, more primitive and had a smaller snout. The dino’s name was just recently recognized by the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Columbus State University Paleontologist Dr. David R. Schwimmer is one of three scientists credited with the dinosaur’s discovery. (The other two are Carthage College’s Thomas Carr and Thomas Williamson of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.)

Schwimmer says the Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis is much more primitive than other tyrannosaurs alive at the same time and that his research will be focusing on why and how that happened. He says the dino’s remains have been around since the 1980’s, they just didn’t have a name or classification for it until now.