New, Big-nosed Dinosaur Discovered

As a dinosaur fan I thought it would be fun to mention a unique new bull-like dinosaur discovered in southern Utah at a site called the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This dinosaur, a four-legged, 2.5 ton, 15-foot-long specimen, was named Nasutoceratops titusi by its discoverer, Eric Karl Lund, in 2010.

Nasutoceratops titusi, which means “big-nose horned face”, is a ceratopsian (a group of herbivorous, beaked dinosaurs) and received its name because of the size of its nose, which is comparatively larger than other Ceratopians, such as the famous Triceratops. The second part of the name, titusi, honors Alan Titus, a paleontologist who worked at the site.

Researchers are still trying to figure out why this dinosaur had such a huge schnoz, but it’s clear that they don’t think it had to do with smelling because the olfactory receptors are located further back in the head. The size of the nose has been described as bizarre and wacky, although no one really knows what its purpose was.

Some suggested uses of the big nose could be visual signals for attracting females, dominance, weapons for combating rivals, or for defense.

This dinosaur lived on a former landmass that scientists call Laramidia, an area about the size of Australia, and makes up part of present-day North America. The landmass in this area was thought to be a subtropical swamp at one time.

My only criticism with the discovery is the long ages assigned to Nasutoceratops. The dinosaur supposedly lived 76 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous Period, but there’s plenty of evidence to suggest this isn’t so. The discovery of dinosaur blood cells, skin, soft tissue, proteins, collagen, and other biological structures, are evidence that these amazing creatures walked the earth not that long ago.

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