You like the legendary Nanotyrannus? What about ol’ Torosaurus, the three horned champion of plant eaters? Well guess what? Science says these and others may not have actually existed.
Your childhood has officially been raped.
Many dinosaur species are experiencing a second extermination—death by reclassification. Thanks to new technologies (and essentially Occam’s Razor in some cases) that allow paleontologists to analyze the tissues in dinosaur fossils, many paleontologists are discovering that dinosaurs we once thought of as separate species are actually part of the same species, simply at different stages of their development. The Nanotyrannus, supposedly a diminutive cousin of the Tyrannosaurus Rex is probably just a juvenile version of the latter species. Similarly, the Torosaurus and the Dracorex hogwartsia (seriously, that’s the name) have been stricken from the books, as they are likely members of previously discovered species.
A paleontologist estimates that a third of dinosaur species currently listed are actually members of other speicies. So how were these creatures mislabeled for so long? As science becomes better able to determine the growth stage of dinosaur fossils, they are finding that many species retain their juvenile characteristics longer than previously believed, and as dinosaurs age, their characteristics undergo drastic changes.
In other words, some species of dinosaurs may have simply been late bloomers.