A Distinct New horned Dinosaur Species discovered in Utah Desert

Jul 20, 2013 12:00 IST

bizarreU.S. palaeontologists in month of July 2013 discovered the fossil of a previously unknown dinosaur — a bizarre horned beast that roamed on an island continent 76 million years ago.

The new species has been named Nasutoceratops, which means big-nosed horned face. The giant creature discovered in the Utah desert was part of the ceratopsid group, which consists of plant-eating, rhinoceros-like dinos, including Triceratops.

Nasutoceratops has the biggest nose and the longest horns of any of the ceratopsids. It has horns, which is roughly 2.5 feet long, curve forward and extend to the tip of its oversized, beak-like nose. Nasuceratops likely used its peculiar horns to frighten rivals and deflect predators similar to modern-day elk or deer. On the other hand, the main purpose of the ornamental headgear was probably sexual selection.

Nasutoceratops is only the second horned dinosaur unearthed in southern Laramidia. Its closest relative is Avaceratops lammersi, a species that lived in the northwest about 2 million years earlier.

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