A long-horned, two-ton dinosaur once roamed the Utah canyons when it was a swampy area some 66 to 100 million years ago, researchers said this week in a published paper about bones they have found over the past two years.
The research published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. stated that the new dinosaur, called Nasutoceratops titusi, is the third species of horned dinosaurs found in the area, according to Bloomberg News.
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"This is an independent branch, previously unknown, inhabiting the southern part of Laramidia for millions of years," said Scott Sampson, the lead study author and vice president of research and collections at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature. "It underlines the fact that we’ll probably discover a number of new species that belong to its group."
Sampson was the chief curator at the Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah when he led the study, which was funded mostly by the Bureau of Land Management and the National Science Foundation.
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah, which opened for research 10 years ago, has been a treasure trove for scientists. It went unexplored for years because it was too difficult to excavate.
Bloomberg News reported that helicopters carried out the dinosaur bones. Paleontologists uncovered the creature's spine, neck, shoulders, two front legs, and the skull of the new dinosaurs in the region.
The Nasutoceratops lived on an island continent called Laramidia when North America was divided by an interior sea starting on the eastern side of the Rockies. The finding suggests dinosaurs in the south were evolving differently than those in the north.
The horned dinosaurs ate vegetation, lived during the Late Cretaceous Period, and possess several unique features, including an oversized nose relative to other members of its dinosaur family, and exceptionally long, curving, forward-oriented horns over the eyes.
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