Ron and Toker's fossil relatives found in Utah


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Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 17, 2013 - 09:47am PT

Nasutoceratops: 'Big-nose, horn-face' dinosaur described
By Rebecca Morelle
Science reporter, BBC World Service

An unusual new species of dinosaur, unearthed from the deserts of Utah, has been described by scientists.

The 5m-long (15ft) beast is a member of the triceratops family, but with a huge nose and exceptionally long horns, palaeontologists say it is unlike anything they have seen before.

It has been named accordingly as Nasutoceratops titusi, which means big-nose, horn-face.

The research is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Dr Mark Loewen, from the University of Utah and Natural History Museum of Utah, told BBC News: "This dinosaur just completely blew us away.

"We would never have predicted it would look like this - it is just so outside of the norm for this group of dinosaurs."

Fearsome vegetarian?

The creature was first discovered in 2006 the Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument area of Utah.

However, it has taken several years to prepare and then study the fossil in detail.

The rocks it was found in date to about 75-million-years old, so the beast would have roamed the Earth during the Late Cretaceous period.

"The horns are by far the absolute largest of any member of its group of dinosaurs - they curve sideways and forwards," explained Dr Loewen.

"In addition it has the biggest nose of its group too."

He added that it also had a scalloped frill at the back of its head.

Nasutoceratops was also hefty, weighing about 2.5 tonnes, and with its unusual looks it would have cut a fearsome figure.

However this species, like all members of the triceratops family is a herbivore. It would have been more concerned with feasting on plants in its tropical, swampy surrounds than terrorising other dinosaurs.

'Treasure trove'

Nasutoceratops is one of a number of species that have been discovered in this area of North America.

The desert where it was found would have once formed part of a continent called Laramidia, which has been described as a treasure trove for fossils.

Other plant-eating species, including two other kinds of horned dinosaurs and duck-billed hadrosaurs, were found close to Nasutoceratops titusi, suggesting that the creatures were able to co-exist.

Dr Loewen said: "All of these animals are upwards of three tonnes... You have an environment where you have all of these large herbivores competing for food.

"We aren't really sure how you can support all of these animals, but you do find them all in the rock at the same time."

He added that other unusual new species were also emerging from the site.

NB Howdy Ron and Toker, I couldn't resist. No offense please. I am just having fun, fighting rearguard actions, eviction and my acne.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 17, 2013 - 10:08am PT

Greetings from another fearsome vegetarian!!

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jul 17, 2013 - 11:31am PT
Speaking of hadrosaurs, this is pretty huge in the dino world.
I bet you didn't know that some were dissing T Rex as a scavenger.
Paleontology was my first love.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _

LA Times:

Fossils suggest T. rex was, indeed, king of the food chain

After more than a century of debate over the Tyannosaurus rex's diet, a discovery in South Dakota is called the first direct evidence that the dinosaur hunted its prey.

Paleontologists Robert DePalma, left, and David Burnham examine a spec...
Paleontologists Robert DePalma, left, and David Burnham examine a specimen unearthed in South Dakota's Hell Creek Formation. The fossil indicates that a T. rex bit into the spine of a living hadrosaur, which survived the attack and healed. (Fallon E. Cohe
Credit: Reilly

By Melissa Pandika
July 15, 2013, 6:16 p.m.

The Tyrannosaurus rex of "Jurassic Park" fame chases any prey that moves, then devours it with a bone-crushing gnash of its enormous jaws and serrated teeth. But paleontologists don't necessarily back Steven Spielberg's portrayal of T. rex, with some saying it may have simply scavenged the remains of dead animals it happened to find.

Now scientists have unearthed what they say is the first direct evidence that the dinosaur king hunted its prey, further supporting its reign at the top of the Cretaceous food chain.

The team excavated the 1.5-inch crown of a T. rex tooth lodged between the fused vertebrae of a hadrosaur, a plant-eating duck-billed dinosaur. The vertebrae had grown around the chisel-shaped tooth indicating that the hadrosaur was alive when it was attacked, according to a report published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists have debated T. rex's feeding behavior for more than a century. Skeletal fossils indicate the creatures were well-suited to hunting, with long serrated teeth, strong hind limbs and a massive skull. Fossil remains bearing T. rex tooth marks, as well as partially digested bones alongside T. rex remains, indicate that the massive creatures ate meat.

While those discoveries might suggest that T. rex fatally attacked its prey, they are also consistent with the possibility that the prey was already dead before T. rex took its first bite. Experts in both camps have ardently defended their positions.

To prove that T. rex was a predator and not just a scavenger, paleontologists needed to find signs of healing in an animal that had escaped an attack. The tooth crown and vertebrae found in South Dakota's Hell Creek Formation is "the piece that settles the controversy," said University of Kansas paleontologist David Burnham, a member of the study team.

That doesn't mean T. rex hunted everything it ate, Burnham and his colleagues wrote. Tooth-punctured fossils lacking signs of wound healing could be evidence that the dinosaurs also fed on carrion.

Large carnivores eat dead animals when they can, and the same was true 65 million years ago, said Thomas Holtz, a paleontologist at the University of Maryland who was not part of the study.

"That's food that doesn't fight back," Holtz said. "Why pass up a free meal?"

The hadrosaur vertebrae were dug up during a 2007 excavation meant to study Hell Creek's prehistoric ecology.

Robert Feeney, an amateur paleontologist with the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., noticed two long bones protruding from the ground. Further excavation revealed a cauliflower-like outgrowth fusing the soup-bowl-sized vertebrae together a sign of bone healing.

After transporting the fossil to the University of Kansas in Lawrence, they used fine brushes, delicately-tipped dental instruments and a miniature sandblaster with baking soda to remove the remaining sediment. Then the researchers made another discovery: a tooth crown wedged between the vertebrae and surrounded by the healed bone growth.

"It was a very exciting moment," Burnham said.

The significance of the find was immediately apparent, he added: "We felt like the king was back."

The team members used a CT scanner to image the tooth crown and then measured its serrations and other characteristics. The measurements matched up with T. rex teeth.

The team used a similar approach to identify the vertebrae, comparing their size and shape to those of other plant-eating species. The long spinal processes, extensions of bone branching from the vertebrae, were characteristic of hadrosaurs.

They also determined that the vertebrae came from the hadrosaur's tail. That is consistent with the way modern-day predators attack their prey, immobilizing their victims by targeting the hindquarters first, the authors wrote.

Jack Horner, a Montana State University paleontologist who was not part of the study, said he was still not convinced that T. rex was a predator. The location of the large tooth on the underside of the hadrosaur vertebrae could indicate that the victim was lying down when it was attacked. Perhaps the T. rex mistook it for carrion and then fled once it realized its intended meal was still alive, he said.

The authors of the study can conclude only that the T. rex "bit a live animal, and the animal lived," Horner said.

Study leader Robert DePalma, a paleontologist at the Palm Beach Museum of Natural History, said Horner's scenario was "implausible."

"A scavenger doesn't come across a food source and realize all of a sudden that it's alive," he said.

Since paleontologists can't observe dinosaurs in the wild, they'll "probably never know" whether T. rex preferred scavenging or hunting, Holtz said. The new fossil "is great because, lacking time machines, we need to get tiny snapshots of info when we can."

"Not all the best fossils are totally complete specimens," he added. "Sometimes it's the little bones that count."

Copyright 2013, Los Angeles Times

Tyrannosaurus Rex!

Jul 17, 2013 - 06:38pm PT
Bet Donini has seen one in person.

Back when....
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 17, 2013 - 06:50pm PT
Yeah, I was gonna say; this guy is paleontologist for the Palm Beach Museum?
Why is he studying dead dinosaurs when he is surrounded by live ones?
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 17, 2013 - 06:55pm PT
"The horns are by far the absolute largest of any member of its group of dinosaurs - they curve sideways and forwards."


You have some fresh meat here...

Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Jul 17, 2013 - 07:48pm PT
Andersonius Primativicus :

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Jul 17, 2013 - 09:19pm PT
Credit: Google Images

Credit: Goggle Images
Anderson & Son.


Sport climber
mammoth lakes ca
Jul 17, 2013 - 11:15pm PT
Reilly...did you ever witness the scavengers lurking near the conveyor belt in the 4-seasons...?

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jul 18, 2013 - 12:33am PT
RJ, you know full well my middle name is 'Vegas', baby.
Only snobs turn up their noses at well-prepared carrion.

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
Jul 18, 2013 - 12:51am PT

It looks like the most famous fossil hunter:
Jack Horner, a Montana State University paleontologist
is livng in denial.

We will have to see what Donini remembers about that era?
Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 18, 2013 - 06:20pm PT
What did I start?

Great video Jim. Where did you dig up that one from?
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