for National Geographic News
October 9, 2009
That’s because young dinosaurs didn’t look like Mini-Me versions of their parents, according to new analyses by paleontologists Mark Goodwin, University of California, Berkeley, and Jack Horner, of Montana State University.
Instead, like birds and some other living animals, the juveniles went through dramatic physical changes during adulthood.
This means many fossils of young dinosaurs, including T. rex relatives, have been misidentified as unique species, the researchers argue.
How T. Rex Became a Terror
The lean and graceful Nanotyrannus is one strong example. Thought to be a smaller relative of T. rex, the supposed species is now considered by many experts to be based on a misidentified fossil of a juvenile T. rex.