Horned T. Rex Was a 'Ballerina'

The tyrannosaurid family just keeps growing. Following the surprise discovery last month of a human-sized Tyrannosaurus ancestor, paleontologists have unearthed yet another T. rex cousin from the Gobi desert. Previously unknown to scientists, Alioramus altai had eight horns, a long snout, and a sleek physique: "Instead of [its] big bad boy... relatives, this one is more like a ballerina," said American Museum of Natural History’s Stephen Brusatte. Alioramus had two horns above each eye and two extended downwards from each cheek—a first for carnivorous dinosaurs. The cheek horns likely served as sexual ornamentation for attracting mates, much like a peacock's feathers. National Geographic reports that alioramus had an "unusually airy skeleton" and "thinner, steak knife-like teeth," suggesting a more diverse picture of the tyrannosaurids than scientists had previously imagined.