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Temporal range: Turonian, 92 Ma
Suskityrannus mount at Dino Kingdom 2012.jpg
Reconstructed skeleton at the Dinokingdom exhibition, Tokyo
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Clade: Tyrannoraptora
Superfamily: Tyrannosauroidea
Clade: Pantyrannosauria
Genus: Suskityrannus
S. hazelae
Binomial name
Suskityrannus hazelae
Nesbitt et al. 2019

Suskityrannus (meaning "coyote tyrant", suski meaning "coyote" in Zuni) is a genus of small tyrannosauroid theropod from the Late Cretaceous of southern Laramidia. It contains a single species, Suskityrannus hazelae, believed to have lived roughly 92 million years ago.[3] The type fossil specimen was found in the Turonian-age Moreno Hill Formation of the Zuni Basin in western New Mexico.[4]


Tyrannosaurus skull compared to Suskityrannus skull

The two specimens of Suskityrannus stood roughly 1 m (3 ft) tall and 3 m (9 ft) long and likely weighed between 20 to 40 kg (45 to 90 pounds). Both are likely to have been juveniles.[5] One of the specimens was concluded to be 3 years old based on bone rings. The skull of Suskityrannus and its foot are more slender than other tyrannosaurs.[6] The species already possesses many key features of the tyrannosaurid body plan, including the phylogenetically earliest record of an arctometatarsalian foot in tyrannosauroids, Suskityrannus could have also had feathers.

Discovery and naming[edit]

Earlier reconstruction of the skeleton with more generic coelurosaurian features, Wyoming Dinosaur Center

First mentioned as a small dromaeosaurid by Wolfe and Kirkland (1998) in their description of Zuniceratops,[7] It was informally referred to as the "Zuni coelurosaur", "Zuni tyrannosaur", and "Zunityrannus" prior to its scientific description. The name Zunityrannus was used for the creature when it was featured in the documentary Planet Dinosaur, where it was shown to be a pack hunter and cannibal based on speculative tyrannosaur traits.[8][9][10] The original fossils were found by a native Mesa teen, a young Sterling Nesbitt, who was a museum volunteer who came to a dig with the paleontologist Doug Wolfe.[11][12][13][14] In 2019 it was formally described as a genus of primitive tyrannosauroid.[15][16] Both the holotype specimen MSM P4754 (partially articulated skull and a few postcranial bones) and the paratype specimen MSM P6178 (partially articulated and associated remains including a few skull bones and an incomplete postcranial skeleton) are preserved in the collections of the Arizona Museum of Natural History.[15]


Timurlengia, a close relative of Suskityrannus

Below is the phylogenetic analysis on the placement of Suskityrannus.[15]














The area in New Mexico of where Suskityrannus lived was a fossil rich area. It was a transition period between the early Cretaceous fauna and the latest Cretaceous fauna. The area was a lush, green, wet, and dense with dinosaurs. This formation would have been a gulf coast with rain and heavy amounts of vegetation.The area would have had a lot of magnolia trees growing and would be a very thick forested place. A few other taxa like Zuniceratops, Nothronychus and a few specimens of Jeyawati[17][18] are known from this region.[19][20][21] The formation contained a still yet to be named ankylosaurid dinosaur.[22] The description of Suskityrannus filled the major phylogenetic, morphological and temporal gaps that researchers needed to piece together tyrannosauroid evolution.[23] Douge Wolfe noted that the Brain of Suskityrannus was pretty large compared to its body plan.


  1. ^ "Tyrannosaurus Rex Developed from a Child-Sized Dinosaur". Learning English. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  2. ^ See Gradstein et al. (2004) for a detailed description of the ICS' timescale
  3. ^ Temming, Maria (2019-05-07). "A tiny mystery dinosaur from New Mexico is officially T. rex's cousin". Science News. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  4. ^ "Fossils of 3-foot-tall Tyrannosaurus rex relatives are evolutionary stepping stone". CNN Wire.
  5. ^ "Mini Tyrannosaur Struck Fear Into Hearts of Jurassic Proto-rabbits Everywhere". Ruth Schuster. HAARETZ. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  6. ^ "Newly named Tyrannosaurus Rex cousin was only three feet tall". Chrissy Sexton.
  7. ^ Wolfe, Douglas E.; Kirkland, James I. (1998). Lucas, Spencer G.; Kirkland, James I.; Estep, John W. (eds.). "Zuniceratops christopheri n. gen. & n. sp., a ceratopsian dinosaur from the Moreno Hill Formation (Cretaceous, Turonian) of west-central New Mexico". Lower and Middle Cretaceous Terrestrial Ecosystems. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin. 14: 307–318.
  8. ^ "Tyrannosaur 'Gangs' Terrorized Ancient Landscape". Liver science.
  9. ^ "New Evidence Suggests Tyrannosaurus Rex Was A Cannibal". IFL Science.
  10. ^ BBC Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ A high-schooler's dig experience writes a new chapter in T-Rex history. "Found in New Mexico: A tiny cousin of the T-Rex". ROBBY BERMAN. Retrieved 13 May 2019. External link in |website= (help)
  12. ^ "Teen's fossil find leads to discovery of new dinosaur, a tiny relative of T. rex". Lindsey Collom.
  13. ^ Mortimer, M. "Coelurosauria". Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Zuni Tyrannosaur Skeleton". Gaston Design, Inc. Retrieved 9 May 2019.
  15. ^ a b c Wolfe, Douglas G.; McDonald, Andrew T.; Kirkland, James I.; Turner, Alan H.; Smith, Nathan D.; Brusatte, Stephen L.; Loewen, Mark A.; Denton, Robert K.; Nesbitt, Sterling J. (May 6, 2019). "A mid-Cretaceous tyrannosauroid and the origin of North American end-Cretaceous dinosaur assemblages". Nature Ecology & Evolution: 1. doi:10.1038/s41559-019-0888-0 – via
  16. ^ Mcdonald, Wolfe and Kirkland, 2010. A new basal hadrosauroid (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) from the Turonian of New Mexico. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 30(3), 799-812.
  17. ^ McDonald Andrew T.; Wolfe, Douglas G. and Kirkland, James I. (2010). "A new basal hadrosauroid (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) from the Turonian of New Mexico". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 30(3): 799–812.
  19. ^ "†Nothronychus mckinleyi Kirkland and Wolfe 2001 (coelurosaur)". PBDB.
  20. ^ "PDBB".
  21. ^ "The Creature From the Zuni Lagoon" (AUGUST 2001 ISSUE). Heather Pringle, Grant Delin. Discover. August 1, 2001. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  22. ^ Sterling J. Nesbitt; Robert K. Denton Jr; Mark A. Loewen; Stephen L. Brusatte; Nathan D. Smith; Alan H. Turner; James I. Kirkland; Andrew T. McDonald; Douglas G. Wolfe (2019). "Supplementary information for: A mid-Cretaceous tyrannosauroid and the origin of North American end-Cretaceous dinosaur assemblages" (PDF). Nature Ecology & Evolution. 3.
  23. ^ "Tiny Tyrannosaur trod lightly 92 million years ago" (7 MAY 2019). Cosmos. Retrieved May 6, 2019.