Species - Daspletosaur
Age - 80/75 Million Years Old ( Late Cretaceous )
Discovered - Montana, Judith River Formation
** Daspletosaur **
Daspletosaurus is a genus of tyrannosaurid dinosaur that lived in western North America between about 79.5 and 74 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period. The genus Daspletosaurus contains two species. Fossils of the earlier type species, D. torosus, have been found in Alberta, while fossils of the later second species, D. horneri, have been found only in Montana. A possible third species, also from Alberta, awaits formal identification and another possible species D. degrootorum, also exists, but it may belong to the separate genus Thanatotheristes instead. Daspletosaurus is closely related to the much larger and more recent tyrannosaurid Tyrannosaurus rex. Like most tyrannosaurids, Daspletosaurus was a multi-tonne bipedal predator equipped with dozens of large, sharp teeth. Daspletosaurus had the small forelimbs typical of tyrannosaurids, although they were proportionately longer than in other genera.
As an apex predator, Daspletosaurus was at the top of the food chain, probably preying on large dinosaurs like the ceratopsid Centrosaurus and the hadrosaur Hypacrosaurus. In some areas, Daspletosaurus coexisted with another tyrannosaurid, Gorgosaurus, though there is some evidence of niche differentiation between the two. While Daspletosaurus fossils are rarer than other tyrannosaurid fossils, the available specimens allow some analysis of the biology of these animals, including social behavior, diet and life history.
** Late Cretaceous Period **
The Cretaceous is a geological period that lasted from about 145 to 66 million years ago. It is the third and final period of the Mesozoic Era, as well as the longest. At nearly 80 million years, it is the longest geological period of the entire Phanerozoic. The name is derived from the Latin creta, 'chalk', which is abundant in the latter half of the period. It is usually abbreviated K, for its German translation Kreide.
** Judith River Formation **
The Judith River Formation is a fossil-bearing geologic formation in Montana, and is part of the Judith River Group. It dates to the Late Cretaceous, between 80 and 75 million years ago, corresponding to the "Judithian" land vertebrate age. It was laid down during the same time period as portions of the Two Medicine Formation of Montana and the Oldman Formation of Alberta. It is an historically important formation, explored by early American paleontologists such as Edward Drinker Cope, who named several dinosaurs from scrappy remains found here on his 1876 expedition. Modern work has found nearly complete skeletons of the hadrosaurid Brachylophosaurus.
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