Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Dinosaur Named Jane

One of the more interesting discoveries over the past few years has been a dinosaur specimen nicknamed "Jane." "Jane" is a Tyrannosaur specimen discovered by researchers from the Burpee Museum of Natural History.

There has been much debate over the identification of this Tyrannosaur specimen. Some think it may represent a more complete specimen of a species called Nanotyrannus lancensis; the type specimen resides at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Others think "Jane" may be a representative of a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex.
The current identification "Jane", at the Burpee Museum, is that of a juvenile Tyrannosaurus rex, however recent research may support the designation of "Jane" as a specimen of Nanotyrannus lancensis.

"Jane's" skull is remarkably similar to the Cleveland type specimen of Nanotyrannus, and CT scans of the type specimen seem to support its designation as a distinct species apart from Tyrannosaurus rex.

There is still much to learn about Nanotyrannus and "Jane." However, other sub-adult Trannosaur specimens, like "Bucky," may help shed greater light on the true identity of "Jane."