MessageToEagle.com - A remarkable new species of a strange horned dinosaur has been unearthed in
Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, southern Utah.
The creature - named Nasotoceratops titusi ("Big-Nose Horned Face") - roamed an island continent known as Laramidia,
during the Late Cretaceous about 76 million years ago.
Laramidia was a landmass formed when a shallow sea flooded the central region of North America, isolating western and
eastern portions for millions of years during the Late Cretaceous Period.
Click on image to enlarge
Artist's impression of Nasutoceratops titusi, which lived during the Late Cretaceous about 76 million years ago.
University of Utah/Lukas Panzarin
Horned dinosaurs, or "ceratopsids," were a group of big-bodied, four-footed herbivores that lived during this period of time.
Most members of this group have huge skulls bearing a single horn over the nose, one horn over each eye, and an
elongate, bony frill at the rear.
The newly discovered species, Nasutoceratops titusi, possesses several unique features, including an oversized
nose relative to other members of the family, and exceptionally long, curving, forward-oriented horns over the eyes.
The bony frill, rather than possessing elaborate ornamentations such as hooks or spikes, is relatively unadorned, with
a simple, scalloped margin.
For reasons that have remained obscure, all ceratopsids have greatly enlarged nose regions at the front of the face.
Nasutoceratops stands out from its relatives, however, in taking this nose expansion to an even greater extreme. x
"The jumbo-sized schnoz of Nasutoceratops likely had nothing to do with a heightened sense of smell-since olfactory
receptors occur further back in the head, adjacent to the brain," Scott Sampson, the study's lead author, said.
"The function of this bizarre feature remains uncertain."
Laramidia, known as the "lost continent," was
formed during the Late Cretaceous Period when a shallow sea flooded the central region of North America. Courtesy Utah Museum of Natural History
"The amazing horns of Nasutoceratops were most likely used as visual signals of dominance and, when that wasn't enough,
as weapons for combatting rivals," Mark Loewen, a co-author of the study said.
Skull reconstruction of the new horned dinosaur Nasutoceratops titusi. Photo Credit: Rob Gaston
Paleontologists have found a variety of fossils on west coast of North America.
Laramidia - the best known major landmass with dig sites spanning from Alaska to Mexico - was a stomping ground for
dinosaurs. Tyrannosaurs, hadrosaurs, dromaeosaurids and troodoontids have all been found there.
The world of dinosaurs was much warmer than the present day.
Laramidia was a stomping ground for dinosaurs.
Currently, there are five giant (rhino-to-elephant-sized) mammals on the entire continent of Africa. Seventy-six
million years ago, there may have been more than two dozen giant dinosaurs living on a landmass about one-quarter that size.
"We're still working to figure out how so many different kinds of giant animals managed to co-exist on such a small
landmass?" co-author of the study, Mark Loewen noted.
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