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Friday, July 6, 2007

Albertosaurus

Lifesize model of an Albertosaurus outside the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States.
Albertosaurus (meaning 'Alberta lizard') was a genus of tyrannosauridtheropod dinosaur that lived in western North America during the Late Cretaceous Period, more than 70 million years ago. The type species, A. sarcophagus, was restricted in range to the modern-day Canadian province of Alberta, after which the genus is named. Scientists disagree on the number of species represented in the genus, recognizing either one or two species. As a tyrannosaurid, Albertosaurus was a bipedal predator with a massive head, jaws lined with dozens of large teeth and tiny, two-fingered 'hands' and it may have been at the top of the food chain in its local ecosystem. Although relatively large for a theropod, Albertosaurus was much smaller than its more famous relative Tyrannosaurus, probably weighing only as much as a modern black rhinoceros. Fossils of more than twenty individuals have been recovered, providing scientists with a more detailed knowledge of Albertosaurus anatomy than is available for other tyrannosaurids. The discovery of ten individuals at one site provides evidence of pack behavior and allows studies of developmental biology which are impossible with lesser-known animals

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