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ALIORAMUS

a long-snouted tyrannosaurine theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia.
alioramus
Pronunciation: AL-ee-o-RAY-mus
Meaning: Different branch
Author/s: Kurzanov (1976)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Bayankhongor, Mongolia
Chart Position: 198

Alioramus remotus

When trying to reconstruct entire dinosaurs from shabby remains, chances are it's going to raise as many questions as it answers. And so it was with Alioramus; identified as a tyrannosauroid in 1976 by Soviet paleontologist Sergei Kurzanov, who left us with a tantalising name that means "different branch" (a previously unknown group of theropod dinosaur) but not a lot else.

The source of Kurzanov's initial assumption was a skull that was somewhat flat and long with a strange row of seven hornlets on its snout, not dissimilar to those found on juvenile specimens of the contemporaneous, thick-browed, deep-jawed, Asian colossus Tarbosaurus, and for thirty years that's what most experts thought it was. However, the only known specimen of Alioramus remotus is a nine-year-old subadult that would have been significantly smaller than Tarbosaurus even when fully grown, and its skull shape wouldn't have changed. And on top of that, it was of a lighter build with longer legs, and had more teeth than any other "tyrant lizard". All things considered, it seems likely that Alioramus and Tarbosaurus are distinct species after all, and they had evolved contrasting anatomical features to tackle different types of prey so they could share the same ecosystem without nicking each other's food.

The 2001 discovery of a better-represented second species — Alioramus altai — and subsequent study and description by Steve Brusatte in 2009 confirmed that Alioramus was a member of the Tyrannosaurus-anchored Tyrannosaurinae. Furthermore, with the discovery of Qianzhousaurus in 2014 the same author resurrected George Olshevsky's long-forgotten Alioramini — a sub-family of long-snouted tyrannosaurines that was pointless when he coined it back in 1995 with Alioramus as the only member. So, more by luck than judgment, Kurzanov and his "different branch" were right all along.
Etymology
Alioramus is derived from the Latin "alius" (different, other) and "ramus" (branch). This title was bestowed by Kurzanov who thought it was far removed from the evolutionary branch of other tyrannosaurs because of its crests and low skull profile. So convinced was he that it was a "different branch" he also gave it the species epithet, remotus, meaning "removed" in Latin. Latest research suggests he was way ahead of his time.
The species epithet, remotus, is named for Mongolia's Altai Mountains.
Discovery
The first fossils of Alioramus were recovered from the beds of Nogon Tsav, Bayankhongor, Mongolia, by a joint Soviet-Mongolian expedition to the Gobi Desert in 1976.
The Holotype (GI 3141/1) is a juvenile skull (700mm long) with lower jaw and a beautifully preserved braincase. Also three foot bones (metatarsals).
The remains of Alioramus altai (IGM 100/1844) were discovered at Tsagan Hushu (aka Tsagaan Khushuu, Khushu or Tsagan Uul) in the Nemegt Formation, Ömnögovi, Mongolia, in 2001.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Maastrichtian
Age range: 71-66 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 6 meters
Est. max. hip height: 2 meters
Est. max. weight: 850 Kg
Diet: Carnivore
References
• Kurzanov SM (1976) "Noviy pozdnemelovoy karnozavr is Nogon-Tsava, Mongoliya" [A new Carnosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Nogon-Tsav, Mongolia] in Kramarenko, et al. (eds.) "Paleontology and Biostratigraphy of Mongolia".
The Joint Soviet-Mongolian Paleontological Expedition, Transactions 3: 93-104.
• Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. (2004) "Tyrannosauroidea" in "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
• Currie PJ (2000) "Theropods from the Cretaceous of Mongolia" in Benton, et al. (eds.) "The Age of Dinosaurs in Russia and Mongolia". Cambridge University Press. pp. 434–455.
• Brusatte SL, TD Carr, GM Erickson, GS Bevera and MA Norell (2009) "A long-snouted, multihorned tyrannosaurid from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia".
www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0906911106.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "ALIORAMUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 24th Feb 2017.
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