Editor's Summary

9 February 2006

An ornamented dinosaur


The tyrannosaurid dinosaurs were a successful group of large carnivores that peaked in terms of size with Tyrannosaurus rex. The fossil record for the group through the Jurassic is sparse but the discovery of a rich deposit of fossils from the Upper Jurassic (about 155 million years old) of the Junggar Basin in northwestern China is filling the gap. One of the most significant finds is described in this issue, a small carnivorous dinosaur about 3 metres long with an elaborate head-crest unlike anything seen in other dinosaurs. It could be an exaggerated sexual ornament, in the same vein as the antlers of the Irish elk or the long tail of the male peacock.

News and ViewsPalaeontology: A Jurassic tyrant is crowned

A newly discovered species of dinosaur, characterized by a wonderfully elaborate head crest, is the oldest known member of the lineage that culminated in Tyrannosaurus rex more than 90 million years later.

Thomas R. Holtz Jr

doi:10.1038/439665a

LetterA basal tyrannosauroid dinosaur from the Late Jurassic of China

Xing Xu, James M. Clark, Catherine A. Forster, Mark A. Norell, Gregory M. Erickson, David A. Eberth, Chengkai Jia and Qi Zhao

doi:10.1038/nature04511

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