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Albertosaurus

Albertosaurus is an extinct genus of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur belonging to the Clade Dinosauria. It lived in the western part of North America, around 70 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period, alongside a diverse population of dinosaurs and other fauna. . Scientists believe that A. sarcophagus, the type species of this genus, was restricted in a range that falls in modern-day Alberta, a Canadian province. Some scientists recognize Gorgosaurus libratus as a second species.

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Scientific Classification

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Clade Dinosauria
Order Saurischia
Suborder Theropoda
Family Tyrannosauridae
Subfamily Albertosaurinae
Genus Albertosaurus
Type Species A. sarcophagus

Quick Fact sheet

Pronunciation al-bert-oh-sore-us
Name Meaning Lizard of Alberta
Size Length – 30 feet
Height – 11 feet
Weight 1.4 to 1.6 metric tons
Skull length 3.3 feet in length
Diet Carnivorous
Walking speed 14 to 20 kilometers per hour
Bite Force 3413 Newtons
Closest relative Gorgosaurus libratus

Physical characteristics

Albertosaurus was a bipedal creature with short two-fingered arms. It was relatively smaller compared to T-rex (type species of genus Tyrannosaurus). It had a big head; a short, S-shaped neck; sharp teeth; long and strong hind legs with a four-toed foot. It had 14-16 banana-shaped teeth on the lower jaw, and 17 – 19 on the upper jaw. Their hallux did not reach the ground. Some believe that this predator was on the top of their food chain on its ecosystem.

Fossil Range

Its remains (the partial skull of the type specimen) were first unearthed in 1884, from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation alongside the Red Deer River, in Alberta, Canada, by geologist Joseph B Tyrrell. In 1892, the fossil samples were first studied by American paleontologist and comparative anatomist Edward Drinker Cope.

In 1910, American paleontologist Barnum Brown found a ‘bonebed’ of Albertosaurus at a pit alongside the Red Deer River. He and his team did not collect all the remains, but gathered up samples from all identified individuals. In 1997, The Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology resumed the fieldwork at the site. Fossil specimens have also been reported from the US states of Wyoming and Montana. Several specimens of albertosaurine have been collected from New Mexico and Alaska.

Habitat and Behavior

Albertosaurus dwelt in a semi-tropical environment with heavy vegetation. Their fossil remains were found in a region that once supported a great variety of animal life, including other dinosaurs like ornithomimids, ceratopsians and hadrosaurs. It is believed that they lived and hunted in packs.

Cool Facts

  • Henry Fairfield Osborn named the genus in a note at the end of his description of Tyrannosaurus rex in 1905. The name honors the Canadian province of Alberta founded on the same year.
  • Albertosaurus is one of the best known and well-studied tyrannosaurs. Scientists have found fossils of more than 30 individuals, with over 20 at just one site.
  • The youngest known Albertosaurus specimen was of a 2-year-old juvenile discovered in the Dry Island bonebed.
  • Albertosaurus has been depicted in several movies, games, television and documentary films, such as Prehistoric Park, March of the Dinosaurs and Primeval: New World.
  • Some scientists believe that they were covered in feathers.

Published on September 14th 2015 by under Reptiles.
Article was last reviewed on 16th September 2019.

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