Scientists from the University of Edinburgh have published a study that found no evidence that there was more than one species of Tyrannosaurus. So, they referred to studies published months earlier, which proved that Tyrannosaurus was in fact three separate species. In response, their co-author speaks of “paleopropaganda.”
Differences in the skeletal morphology of Tyrannosaurus rex species have led some scientists to argue that there may have been several species of Tyrannosaurus. The results of your analyses shared in an article published in March This year. However, a new study by scientists at the University of Edinburgh cools the mood of those interested in this view.
Recent studies have shown that dinosaurs varied in size and shape, but not enough to classify them as distinct species. Based on all currently available fossil evidence, Tyrannosaurus rex is the only dinosaur giant predator in North America, paleontologist and co-author of the study, Professor Steve Brussatte, said in a statement.
The Scientific Controversy About Tyrannosaurus
In this latest study, scientists looked at fossilized tyrannosaurs and data collected from 112 birds, calling them “living dinosaurs” because they are direct descendants of the theropods, the group of dinosaurs to which tyrannosaurus belonged.
The authors of the new analysis cited previous studies that suggested the existence of three types of Tyrannosaurus for the limited number of samples, incomparable measurements and the use of inappropriate statistical techniques.
Gregory Paul, one of the authors of the original study, described the Edinburgh scientists’ comments as overly critical of “what was the first serious attempt to study a tyrannosaur species”.
“A Paleocampaign Seemingly Built to Defend T. Rex.”
“The beloved T. rex is causing people to worry to an unprecedented degree (…) if our article had been about the giant theropod Giganotosaurus from Argentina, there probably wouldn’t have been so much confusion. Chaos,” Paul wrote in the news to CNN. He added that the latest research is “paleopropaganda designed to defend T. rex rather than seriously investigating the possibility that fossilized Tyrannosaurus specimens belong to multiple species.”
Scientists involved in the latest research do not rule out the possibility of the existence of more than one species of Tyrannosaurus, but – as they emphasize – there is currently no evidence to support this thesis. “T. rex is an iconic species, very important for paleontology research and for informing the public about science, so it’s important that we get it right,” said study co-author David Horne, a paleontologist and lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. .
How to distinguish species?
According to experts, figuring out what makes one species different from another is a very difficult and complex process, even among living animals. According to Thomas Holtz, Principal Lecturer in Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Maryland, “The species in question is ancient and known only from very few specimens. Individual differences – they must be rejected before the hypothesis. Both sets of specimens are actually separate species. In our opinion, this hypothesis is not yet the best explanation “- he agreed.
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