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Utah Travel Headlines

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two New Dinosaur Species Discovered In Southern Utah

Paleontologists announced today that they have uncovered fossils belonging to two totally new dinosaur species. The find was made in the Grand Staircase-Escalante area in southern Utah.

Utah has long been famous for its dinosaur sites and some are popular tourist attractions. Grand Staircase was not known as an important dinosaur area until about a decade ago, when scientists started to probe its remote backcountry. Since then it has yielded several important fossil sites.

KSL has this news report about the discovery. Below are excerpts.

Scientists said Wednesday they've discovered fossils in the southern Utah desert of two new dinosaur species closely related to the Triceratops, including one with 15 horns on its large head.

The discovery of the new plant-eating species -- including Kosmoceratops richardsoni, considered the most ornate-headed dinosaur known to man -- was reported Wednesday in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE, produced by the Public Library of Science.

The other dinosaur, which has five horns and is the larger of the two, was dubbed Utahceratops gettyi.

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has been a hotbed for dinosaur species discoveries in the past decade, with more than a dozen new species discovered. While it is a rocky, arid place now, millions of years ago it was similar to a swamp.

The Utahceratops has a large horn over the nose and short eye horns that project to the side rather than upward, similar to a bison. Its skull is about 7 feet long, it stood about 6 feet high and was 18 to 22 feet long. It is believed to have weighed about 3 to 4 tons.

The Kosmoceratops has similar facial features at the Utahceratops, but has 10 horns across the rear margin of its bony frill that point downward and outward. It weighed about 2.5 tons and was about 15 feet long.

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