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New duck-billed dinosaur found in Alaska, researchers say

Fossils from a singular plant-eating dinosaur found in a high Arctic of Alaska might change how scientists perspective dinosaur physiology, contend Alaska and Florida university researchers.

A paper published Tuesday resolved that fossilized skeleton found along Alaska’s Colville River were from a graphic class of hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur not connected to hadrosaurs formerly identified in Canada and Lower 48 states.

It’s a fourth class singular to northern Alaska. It supports a speculation of Arctic-adapted dinosaurs that lived 69 million years ago in temperatures distant cooler than a pleasant or equatorial temperatures many people associate with dinosaurs, pronounced Gregory Erickson, highbrow of biological scholarship during Florida State.

“Basically a mislaid universe of dinosaurs that we didn’t comprehend existed,” he said.

The northern hadrosaurs would have endured months of winter dark and substantially snow.

“It was positively not like a Arctic currently adult there — substantially in a 40s was a meant annual temperature,” Erickson said. “Probably a good analogy is meditative about British Columbia.”

The subsequent step in a investigate module will be to try to figure out how they survived, he said.

Mark Norell, curator of paleontology during a American Museum of Natural History in New York, pronounced by email that it was trustworthy a animals lived in a high Arctic year-round, only like muskoxen and caribou do now. It’s tough to imagine, he said, that a small, youthful dinosaurs were physically able of long-distance anniversary migration.

“Furthermore, a meridian was most reduction oppressive in a Late Cretaceous than it is today, creation sustainability easier,” he said.

Most of a fossils were found in a Liscomb Bone Bed some-more than 300 miles northwest of Fairbanks and a tiny some-more than 100 miles south of a Arctic Ocean. The bed is named for geologist Robert Liscomb, who found a initial dinosaur skeleton in Alaska in 1961 while mapping for Shell Oil Co.

Liscomb suspicion they came from mammals. They remained in storage for about dual decades until someone identified a fossils as dinosaur bones, pronounced Pat Druckenmiller, earth sciences curator during a University of Alaska Museum.

Researchers over a subsequent 25 years excavated and catalogued some-more than 6,000 hadrosaur bones, distant some-more than any other Alaska dinosaur. Most were from tiny juveniles estimated to have been about 9 feet prolonged and 3 feet high during a hips.

“It appears that a flock of immature animals was killed suddenly, wiping out mostly one similar-aged race to emanate this deposit,” Druckenmiller said.

They essentially were suspicion to be Edmontosaurus, a hadrosaur obvious in Canada and a U.S., including Montana and South Dakota. The grave investigate of a Alaska dinosaur, however, suggested differences in skull and mouth facilities that done it a opposite species, Druckenmiller said.

Researchers have dubbed a quadruped Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis (oo-GROO’-nah-luk KOOK’-pik-en-sis). The name means “ancient grazer” and was selected by scientists with assistance from speakers of Inupiaq, a denunciation of Alaska Inupiat Eskimos.

The dinosaurs grew adult to 30 feet long. Hundreds of teeth helped them gnaw counterfeit vegetation, researchers said. They substantially walked essentially on their rear legs, though they could travel on 4 legs, Druckenmiller said.

The Liscomb Bone Bed during a Cretaceous Period was hundreds of miles over north in what’s now a Arctic Ocean, Druckenmiller said.

University of Alaska Fairbanks connoisseur tyro Hirotsugu Mori over 5 years finished his doctoral work on a species. The commentary were published Tuesday in “Acta Palaeontologica Polonica,” an general paleontology quarterly journal.

Researchers are operative to name other Alaska dinosaurs.

“We know that there’s during slightest 12 to 13 graphic class of dinosaurs on a North Slope in northern Alaska,” Druckenmiller said. “But not all of a element we find is adequate adequate to indeed name a new species.”

They have found no justification of crocodiles, turtles, lizards or other ectotherms, a impersonal animals that count on a object or another outmost source of feverishness to umpire their physique temperature.

“It tells us something right there about a biology of these dinosaurs,” Erickson said, an denote they were some-more like birds and mammals.

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