The new duck-billed dinosaur lived 69 million years ago and endured the darkness and snow of Alaska region
A new plant-eating species of dinosaur has been discovered in freezing cold conditions of Alaska.
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Researcher found thousands of individual bones of the species in Price Creek Formation of northern Alaska. They classified this hadrosaur or duck-bill dinosaur as a new, distant species, different from the one discovered in Canada and many U.S. states.
The species is named Ugrunaaluk and lived around 69 million years ago, surviving darkness and snow of Alaska. The dinosaur grew up to 30 feet long and had hundreds of teeth to help them chew coarse vegetation. Researchers believe that they were able to walk on either two or all four legs.
“Ugrunaaluk is far and away the most complete dinosaur yet found in the Arctic or any polar region,” said Pat Druckenmiller, earth sciences curator at University of Alaska Museum. “So far, all dinosaurs from the Prince Creek Formation that we can identify as species are distinct from those found anywhere else.”
The discovery of Northern hadrosaurs may challenge people’s view about dinosaur physiology. The new species was well-adapted to arctic weather and supports the theory that dinosaur not only lived in the tropical or equatorial conditions but also existed in far cooler and darker arctic conditions.
“The finding of dinosaurs this far north challenges everything we thought about a dinosaur’s physiology,” said Gregory Erickson, co-author of the study. “It creates this natural question. How did they survive up here?”
More than 6,000 bones have been excavated from Liscomb Bonebed, indicating the dinosaurs were roaming in herd. “It appears that a herd of young animals was killed suddenly, wiping out mostly one similar-aged population to create this deposit,” Druckenmiller said.
The first bones of the species were found in 1961 by geologist Robert Liscomb so the fossil site was named after the discoverer. Initially, scientists were mixing them with other species but the difference in mouth and skull shape enabled them to identify it as a separate species.
“The new species has a unique combination of characteristics not seen in other dinosaurs” Hirotsugu Mori a curator from Saikai City Board of Education in Japan, said.
The study was published in Acta Paleontologica Polonica