Qianzhousaurus (Chee-ann-joe-sore-us) lived during the Late Cretaceous Period, right up until the end of the Age of Dinosaurs, around 66 million years ago. The remains of this T. rex relative were found in what is now China, near the city of Ganzhou.
Genera and Species
Classification: Saurischia. Theropoda. Tyrannosauridae.
Genus: Qianzhousaurus (“Lizard from Qianzhou [the ancient name for Ganzhou]”)
Species: Q. sinensis
Qianzhousaurus was a relative of Tyrannosaurus, and resembled a smaller, more slender version of its larger cousin. Its most distinctive feature was its narrow snout, which earned it the nickname “Pinocchio Rex”.
LENGTH: Uncertain, perhaps 9 meters (29 feet)
WEIGHT: Uncertain, perhaps 800 kg (1,800 pounds)
Not much is known about the “long-snouted” tyrannosaurs, although the discovery of Qianzhousaurus suggests they were widespread throughout Asia. Along with Alioramus, a similar Asian tyrannosaur, they may have made up a substantial percentage of Asian predatory dinosaurs during the Cretaceous.
Qianzhousaurus’s unique snout suggest that it ate more specialized prey than its larger cousin Tyrannosaurus, and it may have hunted smaller animals or even fish.
History of Discovery
Qianzhousaurus was discovered at a construction site in Ganzhou, China, and was formally described in 2014. It was remarkably well preserved and featured a nearly complete skull. Other slender snouted tyrannosaurs had been discovered in the Alioramus genus, but it was never fully known whether these represented younger versions of larger species or whether they were genuinely a different and new type of tyrannosaur.
With the discovery of Qianzhousaurus, with a completely fused skull that indicates it was an adult, it is now known that these “Pinocchio Rexes” were a legitimate offshoot from the heavier, bulkier, larger tyrannosaurs like T. rex and Tarbosaurus, and probably occupied a different ecological role.
Qianzhousaurus lived in an environment that likely had plenty of trees and water to support a wide variety of dinosaurs and other animals. It lived alongside oviraptorid dinosaurs and sauropods, and may have lived alongside larger tyrannosaurs like Tarbosaurus.
3. Paul, G. (2016). The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs, 2nd Edition. Princeton, New Jersey: University Press Princeton.