Utah is making a name for itself as the place to unearth dinosaurs. Earlier this year a big-nosed dinosaur was discovered in the state, and just recently a relative of the Tyrannosaurus rex was also unearthed. Today, yet another dinosaur has been discovered: Siats meekerorum. While its name might sound tame, Siats refers to the man-eating monster from the mythology of the Ute Native American people. Siats "was a colossal predator second only to the great T. rex," explains Lindsay Zanno, director of Paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
A giant 'man eater'
Siats weighed more than 4 tons and was over 30 feet long, making it a giant carnivorous dinosaur. It might be second only to the T.rex, but it’s not a close relative. Unlike the T.rex, Siats lived in the cretaceous period of dinosaurs that walked the earth around 100 million years ago. While some types of Tyrannosaurus roamed alongside Siats, it wasn’t until Siats became extinct that the Tyrannosaurus family started evolving and growing. During its period on earth, Siats terrorized smaller dinosaurs to prevent them from becoming top predators for millions of years.
Scientists haven’t discovered one of these types of dinosaurs for over 60 years, making this a significant find and one of the three largest-ever discovered in North America. Siats is also unique as it helps scientists piece together a 30-million-year gap in the fossil record of North American large, predatory dinosaurs. "Siats is just the tip of the iceberg; our teams are unearthing a lost dinosaurian ecosystem right here in the badlands of western North America," says Zanno.