A newly discovered predatory dinosaur from Utah is so large that it may represent the biggest species of meat-eating dino that ever lived in North America.
The dinosaur, Siats meekerorum a.k.a. "Man Eating Monster," is described in the latest issue of Nature Communications. The specimen was just a juvenile, but conservatively it measured at least 30 feet long and weighed 9,000 pounds.
The name Siats pays homage to a human-chomping monster from legends of the Ute native tribe of Utah.
"Siats still had a lot of room to grow, and there is only a 4-inch difference between the estimated femur length of a juvenile Siats and an adult Acrocanthosaurus (the second largest predator in North America), so we think a safe estimate for an adult Siats is that it at least vied with Acrocanthosaurus (11,000 pounds) for the No. 2 slot," lead author Lindsay Zanno told Discovery News.
"However, our upper estimate on Siats is a body mass larger than T. rex (currently in the No. 1 spot), so future material may reveal Siats grew up to be one of the biggest predators known around the globe," added Zanno, who is director of the Paleontology and Geology Research Laboratory at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
Zanno, who is also an assistant professor of biology at North Carolina State University, co-authored the paper with Peter Makovicky of the Field Museum of Natural History.
The researchers analyzed the remains for Siats, which were unearthed at the Dakota Formation in Emery County, Utah. The fossils reveal that the huge dinosaur lived approximately 98 million years ago at the dawn of the Late Cretaceous.
It was a carcharodontosaur, which refers to a type of enormous carnivorous dinosaur known, not just for their size, but also for their jagged, sharp teeth.