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Albertosaurus

Updated on July 31, 2012

Albertosaurus lived in the mid to late cretaceous period 70 million years ago in what is now Alberta Canada. It was a smaller cousin of Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was about 30 feet long, stood 11 feet tall and weighed 2-3 tons. Albertosaurus was the apex predator in it's ecosystem. One discovery of 26 albertosaurs of varying ages has led paleontologists to believe that they lived and hunted in groups.

Biology

There are several features that set albertosaurus apart from it's larger tyrant cousins. One example is the teeth. T-rex teeth were robust rounded and more designed like railroad spikes. Albertosaur teeth while quite strong, were not as robust. They were more like other theropods teeth with a design similar to a steak knife. Another is the overall size and proprtions. Albertosaurus did not have as massive a head as T-rex and even though its arms were small they still weren't a tiny as T-rex. As a result of being smaller and sleeker, albertosaurus was likely much more agile than it's giant descendants as well, and probably could hold down a good pursuit.

Environment

The world was a much warmer place during the cretaceous period. Dinosaur Provincial Park in southern Alberta Canada was very much like the Florida Everglades 70 million years ago complete with swamps, ponds and marshes, hot humid summers, and stormy wet seasons. Fossils of the crocodile-like champsosaur that once prowled the rivers, and ancient turtle fossils found in the Park today suggest temperatures then would have ranged from 14 degrees to 35 degrees Celsius during the day. Seasonal weather patterns would have stimulated the horned dinosaurs Pachyrhinosaurus to come together in vast herds for seasonal migrations away from the flood-prone areas, alongside Hadrosaur families scattered from their nesting areas to move south in search of food. The herds of these herbivores would have been stalked by carnivores such as Troodon and Albertosaurus.

Discovery

Albertosaurus was first discovered by Joseph B.Tyrrell in 1884 which is now displayed in the Royal Tyrrell Museum (now the marquee specimen of the museum). In the summer of 1884, Joseph B. Tyrrell and a crew of three men were canoeing the Red Deer River near Drumheller, prospecting the Cretaceous outcroppings based on information that a decade before small fossils had been found in the same area. Tyrrell climbed a steep rock face and rounded the point to examine a distinctive shape jutting out of the ground. Clearing away the dirt and dust, 26-year-old Tyrrell was in awe. “There was this skull leering at me, sticking right out of the ground,” Tyrrell said in an interview many years after his discovery. The sight gave him a fright, he said. “With his hands and his geologist’s hammer, he gradually uncovered the fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur,” noted the Historica Minutes Synopsis on "Joseph Tyrrell." While not a palaeontologist, Tyrrell was able to expertly remove the skull fossil and bring it to Calgary for examination. The skull was given the name Albertosaurus lizard from Alberta.



Jurassic Fight Club - Albertosaurus

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    • ChrisIndellicati profile image
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      ChrisIndellicati 5 years ago from New York, NY

      Thanks for all the positive feedback! And yes Dinosaurs are really fascinating. If the entire myriad of species weren't snuffed out it's likely that we wouldn't have came to be. It's quite humbling to think that they were here for over 160 million years while humans and other hominids have only been here 3-4 million years.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Any type of dinosaur is interesting. This is one I was not familiar with. You've outlined some interesting facts and information.

      Voted up and interesting.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      It would be a different world for sure if they were still here. This is a good history lesson. Voted up and interesting.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Very Interesting with Great Pictures as well!!! It amazes me that these creatures once inhabited the earth!! Love reading about history and enjoyed reading this.

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 5 years ago

      It can sometimes be quite overwhelming to imagine of a time when these creatures existed.