Field of Science

Cute! Raptorex kriegsteini New Miniature Tyrannosaur from the Early Cretaceous of China

This isn't Triassic, but it has been a slow month and this is pretty cool. Out today in Science is an article describing a new miniature tyrannosaur from the Early Cretaceous of China. Sereno et al. have named the specimen Raptorex kriegsteini after the parents of the benefactor who purchased the specimen from a private seller at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. This is a good story about how an illegally collected specimen is donated by a benefactor to science, studied and published for the scientific community and the public, and now will be returned back to China from where it was removed.


You can read more on this find here:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-090917little-t-rex,0,2156860.story

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/47453/description/Tiny_T.rex%E2%258

http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/09/raptorex_tiny_king_of_thieves_shows_how_tyrannosaurus_body_p.php

The reconstruction is from here. Todd Marshall does amazing work.

One thing I did notice is that the species name is improperly constructed. Because the specimen is named for Mr. and Mrs. Kriegstein, by ICZN convention the name should be R. kriegsteinorum. This seems to occur more often then it should, especially with multiple authors, reviewers, and editors.

REFERENCE

Sereno, P.C., Tan, L., Brusatte, S., Kriegstein, H.J., Zhao, X., and K. Cloward. 2009. Tyrannosaurid body design first evolved at small body size. Science 325. doi: 10.1126/science.1177428

Supplemental Material

11 comments:

  1. Aw, he's cute! I'd love to know how much the skeleton they found to come up with a skull/life reconstruction.

    This is the part where I ask, offhandedly, if you have a PDF of this particular paper. :-D

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  2. Awesome! Another Tyrannosaur!! Like Zach said, do you have a PDF of this particular paper? :D Coelurosaurs are by far my favorite Theropod Group!!! :D

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  3. "Sereno et al. have named the specimen Raptorex kriegsteini after the parents of the benefactor who purchased the specimen from a private seller at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show."

    Then it should have been "kriegsteinorum". As is, sounds more like it's named after the benefactor himself.

    Eh well, awesome new beastie -- weird to see such atrophied forelimbs on such a small predator.

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  4. Mike,

    Obviously you fell asleep before the end of the post where I discussed the improper species name. Correct me if I'm wrong but the recent version of the ICZN does not require emendations so this will be the permanent name?

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  5. I got distractimacated by the purty picture. And you is correct, I believe.

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  6. D'oh!! Missed that about being named after the parents... (Although I kinda thought a different name--also German--might have made a better trivial nomen... Oh well, I can dream...)

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  7. "D'oh!! Missed that about being named after the parents..."

    Something like bellisaxicus or machelithicus (based on Latin and Greek translations, respectively, of "Kriegstein" 'war-stone') might have been interesting, too.

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  8. One other quibble about the name. Raptorex doesn't mean 'raptor king'; that would be something like "Raptorrex" or "Raptorirex".

    A Raptorex would be a rex that is raptus, i.e. a 'seized' or 'plundered king' - which I think is actually a more appropriate name, considering how the wee beastie was evidently smuggled out of China.

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  9. "Aw, he's cute! I'd love to know how much the skeleton they found to come up with a skull/life reconstruction."

    From the paper-
    LH PV18, partially articulated skeleton composed of disarticulated cranial bones representing most of the skull and postcranial skeleton, lacking portions of the forelimb
    and the distal one-half of the tail (beyond the eleventh caudal). The holotype represents a young adult, as shown by fusion of the nasals and braincase elements in the skull
    and at least partial fusion of all neurocentral sutures. Catalogued in the collection of the Long Hao Institute of Geology and Paleontology (Hohhot, Nei Mongol
    Autonomous Region) and the University of Chicago
    (Chicago).

    ReplyDelete
  10. Regarding the formation of the species name, i think sereno et al are right, and the media reported it incorrectly: this is from the refs of the paper

    "Etymology: raptor, plunderer (Greek); rex, king (Greek);
    kriegsteini, after Roman Kriegstein, in whose honor the
    specimen was secured for scientific study."

    The species was named after 1 male Kriegstein, so kriegsteini should be correct

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  11. Jay is correct. If the species name is based on only honoring the father then it is correct. I based my statement on the news articles which had quotes from both Sereno and Kriegstein stating that the intent was to honor both paerents. I wonder why this was not done?

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