|Name Meaning||“Harbinger of Doom”||Height||1.5 meters (5 feet)|
|Pronunciation||Moor-is In-tre-pih-dus||Length||1.2 meters (3.9 feet)|
|Era||Mesozoic – Late Cretaceous||Weight||78 kgs (172 lbs)|
|Classification||Dinosauria, Saurischia & Theropoda||Location||United States (North America)|
Moros intrepidus Pictures
The Moros intrepidus
Despite its popularity, the Tyrannosauridae family is controversial. While there are around 13 genera of Tyranosaurids in total, some experts only believe there to be as little as three.
Here you will learn about the “Harbinger of Doom” Moros intrepidus, one of the earliest members of Tyrannosaurids that lived in Cretaceous North America.
Moros intrepidus was much smaller than related species like the Tyrannosaurus rex, but just as fierce.
Moros intrepidus was only discovered recently in 2013, and there is still plenty that scientists have to learn about this dinosaur.
Even in situations where there are limited fossil remains, like that of Moros intrepidus, experts are still able to piece together how dinosaurs lived and looked millions of years ago.
Moros intrepidus is an important dinosaur in learning how Tyrannosaurids evolved over time.
They are the earliest known tyrannosaur, and likely played an essential role in the Early Cretaceous ecosystem.
While not the smallest of dinosaurs, this species definitely one of the smallest of its type.
Being one of the earliest versions of Tyrannosaurids, Moros intrepidus had a very different appearance than later dinosaurs that were larger, and bulkier.
Moros intrepidus only stood around 1.5 meters (4,9 ft.) tall and had a length estimated at 1.2 meters (3.9 ft).
The total mass of this dinosaur is estimated at 78 kgs (172 lbs.). Their overall body structure was built to be nimble, and speedy.
Moros intrepidus was bipedal and had a cursorial body. They were very slender but had a muscular build.
The arms of Moros intrepidus are not short like later evolved dinosaurs, but longer, with three clawed fingers on each of their hands.
The body of Moros intrepidus was covered in scales. It is not known whether this dinosaur had feathers.
Tyrannosaurids could have had feathers when born to keep them warm, but it is not known whether they kept them.
It is likely that this species had feathers, and also had scaly skin. It was only in 1996 that scientists first discovered feathers preserved in fossils, so further studies are needed.
Habitat and Distribution
Moros intrepidus lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous period.
This dinosaur was discovered in Utah within the United States and dates back to the Cenomanian age.
Other states where this dinosaur has been discovered include Wyoming and Colorado.
The warm climate is believed to be preferred by this dinosaur, and they would avoid the cold entirely.
The conditions in North America during the start of the Cretaceous period were much like that of the conditions of the Jurassic period.
Grasslands, forests, and swamps are some of the habitats this dinosaur lived in.
Evidence suggests that the ancestors of Moros intrepidus were a part of the transcontinental exchange of animals that occurred during the early Cretaceous period.
Moros is similar to tyrannosaurs in Asia. When North America and Asia were connected by a land bridge many dinosaurs spread to other continents, so it is possible Moros dinosaur’s ancestors came to North America then.
Tyrannosaurids mainly lived in the Northern Hemisphere, and are one of the world’s most studied types of dinosaurs.
The discovery of Moros intrpeidus helped bridge the gap of missing information on the evolutionary line of early Tyrannosaurids.
Moros intrepidus means “Harbinger of Doom” which is in reference to the Tyranosaurid’s dominance to come across the Cretaceous period in the Northern Hemisphere.
Behavior and Diet
Moros intrepidus is carnivorous, and fed on large, and small prey. Their sleek muscular build allowed them to be quick, and strong enough to take down other dinosaurs.
The leg fossil found of this dinosaur shows they had hind legs adapted for running.
Dinosaurs that were primarily herbivorous like hadrosaurs, or ceratopsians were the main prey of Moros dinosaurs.
Alone, larger dinosaurs would have been difficult for Moros intrepidus to hunt, but it is possible they could have hunted in packs.
Moros intrepidus had sharp claws, with sharp teeth that helped them kill their prey.
This dinosaur could have been a scavenger, that searched for food larger dinosaurs took out and left behind.
They also could have stole food from other dinosaurs that were smaller.
Since this dinosaur was not very large, they would have had a difficult time taking out other larger dinosaurs, especially larger herbivores with horns.
In the Cenemanian epoch there also existed several large carnivorous dinosaurs that Moros intrepidus would have needed to avoid to survive.
The reproduction and life cycle of Moros intrepidus is mainly a mystery, but fossil evidence has allowed scientists to learn a bit about the lifecycle of this dinosaur.
All dinosaurs reproduced by laying eggs. Living in moist environments with lots of vegetation, Moros used moist soil in the ground to make their nest.
The specimen of Moros intrepidus discovered was estimated to be around 6 or 7 years old and was nearly fully grown.
When fully grown these dinosaurs are around the size of a deer.
Moros intrepidus is one of the oldest known dinosaurs discovered from the Cretaceous period in North America.
It is not known how, or when Moros dinosaurs become extinct. Theories include competition from other tyrannosaurids and climate change being possible factors for their demise.
Evolution and History
The genus of Moros only contains one species, and that is Moros intrepidus.
This species was officially described in 2019, by paleontologist Lindsay E. Zanno, and others in her team.
The Latin name intrepidus, references the Tyrannosauroid’s growth to being the dominant dinosaur across North America.
The first fossil specimen of Moros was discovered in Utah, in Emery County in the Cedar Mountain Formation.
Holotype NC SM 33392 was found in a layer dating to the Cenomanian age and dates no more than 96.4 million years old.
A thigh bone, shin bone, fourth toe, fourth and third phalanx, and second and fourth metatarsal are what was found of the Moros dinosaur, making up its right hind leg.
Tyrannosauridaes are one of the most intensely studied dinosaur families in the world.
The extremely strong bite forces, large size, speed, and adapted predatory senses are why these dinosaurs are loved, but these traits are more prevalent in later evolved species from the later Cretaceous period.
Moros intrepidus helps fill a 15 million-year missing gap in the fossil record of Tyrannosaurids.
These dinosaurs represent smaller and simpler theropods that existed at the beginning of the Cretaceous, designed better for speed instead of power.
Moros intrepidus is an important role in understanding the 70 million-year gap in the fossil record of Tyrannosauridaes in North America.
Interactions with Other Species
In the time period of Moros intrepidus large Allosaursids dominated North America.
Tyrannosaurs would later become the dominant species, but it took around 70 million years into the late Cretaceous period for them to take their throne.
Moros intrepidus lived alongside several other dinosaur species in early Cretaceous North America.
Dinosaurs that lived in the same region and period as Moros intrepidus include:
Moros intrepidus were predators, and they fed on herbivorous dinosaurs they lived with.
This dinosaur could have hunted wither other members of its species or even alongside larger Allosaurids that lived with them.
Moros intrepidus are thought to be faster than a T-Rex but likely did not dominate their habitats due to larger species.
There is a large gap in the fossil records of Tyrannosaurids in North America, that is from around 150 to 80 million years ago.
The discovery of Moros intrepidus helped lessen this gap and has allowed researchers to gain a better understanding of earlier Tyrannosaurs.
The discovery of Moros intrepidus suggests these dinosaurs managed to become giant superpredators in just around 16 million years.
In the United States, Tyrannosaur’s remains were one of the first fossils to be discovered.
Early settlers collected the remains of dinosaurs and told stories about the types of monsters the bones belonged to.
Discovered in 2013, the discovery of Moros intrepidus allowed for further studies into Tyrannosaurs.
Earliest known Tyrannosaur fossils have been described as early as the 1800s.
Even the discovery of the first Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton dates back over 100 years ago to 1902.
Compared to other dinosaurs, Moros intrepidus is quite a new species with a lot to learn about.
These dinosaurs have still caught the eye of many due to their unique name and the superfamily they belong to.
You can find their appearance in movies and games, and buy them as action figures.
Moros intrepidus is one of the earliest known Tyrannosaurids in North America, and were much smaller, and simpler than later species that came during the Late Cretaceous period.
Discovered in Utah, Moros intrepidus resembled earlier Tyrannosaurids found in Asia, which means they likely had ancestors from that region.
Even with the limited fossil data on Moros intrepidus, this species has been essential in understanding the evolution of dinosaurs across North America.
Only a single fossil specimen of Moros intrepidus has been discovered, and it was luckily sticking out of a rock.
What is known about the “Harbinger of Doom” and other dinosaurs is subject to change.
New fossil discoveries and continuous research are why so much of what is known about dinosaurs continue to evolve.
Was Moros intrepidus an apex predator?
An apex predator is a name used to describe carnivorous animals that are at the top of the food chain in their ecosystem.
While Moros intrepidus was definitely a feared predator, they are not considered apex predators.
There were larger dinosaurs like allosaurids that lived with Moros intrepidus and were the apex predators.
It would only be later in the Cretaceous period that Tyrannosaurids would become the dominant apex predator.
Did Moros intrepidus hunt in packs?
It is possible Moros intrepidus could have hunted in packs to make it easier to take down prey.
Larger dinosaurs did not need to hunt in packs, but Moro intrepidus smaller size gave them an advantage to hunt in numbers and take out larger prey.
Due to the limited fossils found it is not known if this species lived in groups, but evidence from other Tyrannosaurids suggested they did not hunt in groups.
Is Moros intrepidus related to the Tyrannosaurus Rex?
Moros intrepidus is a type of Pantyrannosauria, which is a clade that belongs to the Tyrannosauroidae superfamily.
These dinosaurs existed in the early Cretaceous period, and are one of the earliest known dinosaurs of their type in North America.
The evidence suggests it took dinosaurs such as Moros intrepidus around 16 million years to evolve and become the apex predators Tyrannosaurs are known for.