Fossils of a 30-feet long dinosaur have been rediscovered after more than two decades, but this time with a twist. Remains of the duck-billed dinosaur were originally excavated from the Nelson rock formation in Utah in 1990s. At the time, scientists were interested in it because of its well-preserved skin impressions. Scientists recently found the remains in storage at the museum of Brigham Young University, Utah.
What did Rhinorex do with its big nose?
When they reconstructed its skull, Terry Gates and Rodney Sheetz realized that it was an entirely new species. Named Rhinorex condrupus, this dinosaur had a snout so big that it was branded “King Nose.” What did it do with its large schnoz? Dr Gates said it might have used its nose for a variety of purposes. If the dinosaur was anything like its relatives, it didn’t have a good sense of smell.
Gates speculates Rhinorex could have used its nose as a means of attracting mates, as an enormous attachment for a plant-smashing beak, or to recognize members of its species. Researchers are still trying to find out answers to these questions. Findings of the study appeared in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology.
The 8,500-pound dinosaur lived about 75 million years ago
Scientists said preparation for reconstruction and analysis of its skull was very difficult. It took them over two years to dig the remains out of the sandstone where it was embedded. But finally they had almost the entire skull. Fossil analysis revealed that the dinosaur lived during the Late Cretaceous period, about 75 million years ago.
It weighed more than 8,500 pounds. Rhinorex lived in a swampy environment about 50 miles from what it today the Utah coast. Scientists said it was the only complete hadrosaur fossil from the Nelson rock formation. Hadrosaurs had heads similar to modern-day ducks. Rhinorex helps fill in the gap about habitation segregation during the Late Cretaceous era.