Fossils

Jorge Gonzalez

Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the most beloved dinosaurs in American popular culture. But the tyrant king’s background was never entirely clear. A 70 million-year gap in the fossil record had left scientists wondering where the bone-crushing creature came from and how it rose to dominance. A new discovery by researchers at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University is helping paleontologists answer that question. 

Carnufex carolinensis
Jorge Gonzalez / Scientific Reports

North Carolina State University researchers have identified a new species that might have been the top predator in North America before the dinosaurs. The Carnufex carolinensis has been nicknamed the 'Carolina Butcher'. 

Lindsay Zanno and Susan Drymala co-authored the study  in the journal Scientific Reports. Drymala says this Triassic ancestor of the crocodile lived at a time before mammals and reptiles split into different classes.

Sharks have looked more or less the same for hundreds of millions of years. But a newly discovered fossil suggests that under the hood, a modern shark is very different from its ancient ancestors.