Alaska – According to a report published in the “Acta Palaeontologica Polonica”, on Tuesday, researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have found fossils from a new plan-eating dinosaur along Alaska’s Colville River in the Arctic zone of the region.
The animal was from a distinct species of hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur not connected to others found in Canada and Lower 48 states. The fusils revealed differences in the skull and mouth features compare to the already known hadrosaur, Edmontosaurus, which led to this conclusion.
These findings support the theory that there were dinosaurs capable of living in far colder temperatures than the tropical temperatures people associate with dinosaurs.
According to the researchers, 69 million years ago these extinct animals lived in Alaska when it was covered by forest and had a warmer temperature. However, they probably experience snow and lived in darkness for months.
“It was certainly not like the Arctic today up there – probably in the 40s was the mean annual temperature,” said Gregory Erickson, professor of biological science at Florida State, to the Associated Press. “Probably a good analogy is thinking about British Columbia.”
Researchers have dubbed the creature Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis (oo-GROO’-nah-luk KOOK’-pik-en-sis), which means “ancient grazer”. The scientists, with the help of speakers of Inupiaq (the language of Alaska Inupiat Eskimos), chose the name.
According to Pat Druckenmiller, earth sciences curator at the University of Alaska Museum, these types of dinosaur could measure up to 30 feet long and had hundreds of teeth that helped them chew coarse vegetation. They could walk on four legs, but probably preferred to walk on their hind legs.
During 25 years, researchers have excavated and catalogued more than 6,000 hadrosaur bones. Most of them are estimated to have been about 9 feet long and 3 feet tall, which shows that they were small juveniles. “It appears that a herd of young animals was killed suddenly, wiping out mostly one similar-aged population to create this deposit,” Druckenmiller said.
Source: The Associated Press