A new herbivorous dinosaur species that lived in northern Alaska has been discovered, researchers announced Tuesday.
The hadrosaurus, also know as duckbills, has been found in 1961 in the Prince Creek Formation area in Alaska, but researchers have only now assigned it to a distinct species.
As suggested in the paper that was published in the Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, the dinosaurs lived about 70 million years ago, the adults were 30 feet (meters) long, had hundreds of teeth, and fed on coarse vegetation. According to the researchers, the hadrosaurus could walk both on two legs, and on four legs.
The researchers named the dinosaur Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis, which in the native language of the Iñupiat, or the native people in Alaska, means ‘ancient grazer’.
The new species has one of a kind features that have not been seen in other dinosaurs, said Hirotsugu Mori, who studied geology and geophysics at the of University of Alaska Fairbanks. Seeing these dinosaurs as part of a different species means that they have actually lived in the same place (northern Alaska) and have never migrated south, as it was previously believed, researchers say.
“We are finding a lot of young and old [Urgrunaaluks], and we don’t have similar dinosaur evidence at lower latitudes, at this time in history. Because they are constantly replacing their teeth, and because they are always showing the same evidence, it proves they didn’t move south,” Gregory Erickson, a professor and researcher at Florida State University, stated.
Dr. Erickson said that the dinosaurs were able to survive the harsh conditions, because the area was relatively warm, around 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius). In his study, Erickson compares the climate of the area to that of British Columbia.
For three to five months a year, the dinosaurs had to live in complete darkness and harsh weather, which meant that the food resources was quite scarce during that period of time. Supposedly, they lived off of bark and twigs of conifers, Dr. Patrick Druckenmiller, an Earth Sciences curator at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, said.
The Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis was also a warm-blooded dinosaur, because it was able to tolerate the extremely cold weather, Erickson added.
Image Source: cdn4.sci-news