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This ‘shark-toothed’ dinosaur was king before the T. rex

The Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis had shark-like teeth and a huge jawbone

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A new dinosaur from the lower Upper Cretaceous of Uzbekistan, Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis.

A new dinosaur from the lower Upper Cretaceous of Uzbekistan, Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis, was described from a single maxilla fossil. The University of Tsukuba-led research team estimated that this carcharodontosaurian weighed over 1,000 kilograms and measured 7.5–8.0 meters in length, much larger than previously described predators from the same formation. The fossil’s age, location, and co-occurrence with the smaller tyrannosaurid Timurlengia shed light on the transition from carcharodontosaurians to tyrannosaurids occupying the apex predator niche.

University of Tsukuba

Scientists have discovered a new apex predator from the dinosaur era — a carnivore with shark-like teeth that was bigger than the T. rex.

This apex predator is called the Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis, or Ulugh Beg for short.

A new study of the creature’s jawbone — published in Royal Society Open — found that the dinosaur often measured 26 feet long and weighed close to 2,200 pounds.

That means it was longer than an African elephant and heavier than a bison, according to Science Alert. So that’s pretty big.

The name Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis, or Ulugh Beg, is based off an astronomer and former sultan from the area now known as Uzbekistan, per Science Alert.

“What caught scientists by surprise was that the dinosaur was much larger — twice the length and more than five times heavier — than its ecosystem’s previously known apex predator: a tyrannosaur, the researchers found,” according to Science Alert.

The scientists said the partial jawbone of the creature might suggest the animal was a carcharodontosaur, who “were cousins and competitors of tyrannosaurs, whose most famous species is Tyrannosaurus rex,” according to Live Science.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, scientists are unsure how the Ulughbegsaurus uzbekistanensis did not remain at the top of the food chain. It was unlikely that tyrannosaurs became the top dinosaur in the world by simply fighting off the carcharodontosaurs.

University of Calgary paleontologist Darla Zelenitsky said that the environment might have had something to do with the change in the environment, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

“We don’t know why these dinosaurs lost their place as top predators, but perhaps it was linked to environmental changes that would have altered herbivorous dinosaur communities in or around this window of time,” Zelenitsky said.