This illustration provided by Andrey Atuchin and Virginia Tech in May 2019 shows a Suskityrannus hazelae, foreground, a cousin of the Tyrannosaurus rex. It weighed between 45 and 90 pounds. (Andrey Atuchin/Virginia Tech via AP)

Meet the T. rex cousin who you could literally look down on

May 06, 2019 - 11:38 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have identified an early cousin of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a pipsqueak that only reached the 3-foot height of a toddler.

The new dinosaur, found in New Mexico, is called Suskityrannus hazelae (SUE-ski-tie-ran-us HAY-zel-a), a name that uses a Native American word for coyote.

Sterling Nesbitt, a paleontologist at Virginia Tech, said this dinosaur lived about 92 million years ago — millions of years before T. rex. It weighed up to 90 pounds, almost nothing compared to the nine-ton king of the dinosaurs.

Suskityrannus hazalae isn't the first or even smallest of the Tyrannosaurus family tree, but it provides the best example of how this family of modest-sized dinosaurs evolved into the towering horror of movies and nightmares.

The findings were announced Monday in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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