Nav: Home

Strange new species of duck-billed dinosaur identified

July 15, 2019

MONDAY 15TH JULY - The most complete skull of a duck-billed dinosaur from Big Bend National Park, Texas, is revealed in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology as a new genus and species, Aquilarhinus palimentus. This dinosaur has been named for its aquiline nose and wide lower jaw, shaped like two trowels laid side by side.

In the 1980s, Texas Tech University Professor Tom Lehman (then a Master's student) was conducting research on rock layers at Rattle Snake Mountain and discovered badly-weathered bones. He and two others from the University of Texas at Austin collected them, but some were stuck together making them impossible to study. Research in the 1990s revealed an arched nasal crest thought to be distinctive of the hadrosaurid Gryposaurus. At the same time, the peculiar lower jaw was recognized. However, the specimen spent additional years waiting for a full description and it was not until recent analysis that the researchers came to realize that the specimen was more primitive than Gryposaurus and the two major groups of duck-billed dinosaurs.

"This new animal is one of the more primitive hadrosaurids known and can therefore help us to understand how and why the ornamentation on their heads evolved, as well as where the group initially evolved and migrated from," says lead author Dr Albert Prieto-Márquez from the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, near Barcelona. "Its existence adds another piece of evidence to the growing hypothesis, still up in the air, that the group began in the southeastern area of the US."

Duck-billed dinosaurs, also known as hadrosaurids, were the most common herbivorous dinosaurs at the end of the Mesozoic Era, and all had a similar-looking snout. The front of the jaws meet in a U-shape to support a cupped beak used for cropping plants. The beak of some species is broader than in others, but there was no evidence of a significantly different shape and therefore likely also different feeding style in duckbills until Aquilarhinus was discovered. The lower jaws of Aquilarhinus meet in a peculiar W-shape, creating a wide, flattened scoop.

Around 80 million years ago, this particular dinosaur would have been shovelling through loose, wet sediment to scoop loosely-rooted aquatic plants from the tidal marshes of an ancient delta, where today lies the Chihuahuan desert. When the dinosaur died, some of its bones were transported downstream by the tide and became lodged in vegetation. The twice-daily flow of the tide dropped silt that built up the bank of the channel around its body, fossilising the bones in thick ironstone.

The jaw and other characteristics of the specimen show that it does not fit with the main group of duck-billed dinosaurs known as Saurolophidae. It is more primitive than this group, suggesting there might have been a greater number of lineages than previously recognised that evolved before the great radiation that gave rise to the bewildering array of unadorned, solid and hollow-crested forms. Most saurolophids had bony cranial crests of many different shapes and sizes. Aquilarhinus also sported a bony crest, albeit a simple one shaped like a humped nose. The discovery of a solid crest outside the major radiation of hadrosaurids supports the hypothesis that all crests derived from a common ancestor that had a simple humped nose.
-end-
NOTES TO EDITORS

The study was funded by the Ramon y Cajal Program, the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitivity of Spain, the CERCA Program of the Generalitat de Catalunya, Texas Tech University, and the Sigma Xi National Scientific Honor Society.

The work was conducted under permit from the Science and Resource Management division of Big Bend National Park Service, as well as the Texas Vertebrate Paleontology Collections at The University of Texas at Austin, where the specimen is housed.

For an interview, please contact:

Dr Albert Prieto-Márquez,
Catalan Institute of Palaeontology, Barcelona
Email: albert.prieto@icp.cat

All other queries:

Saskia Kovandzich, Press & Media Coordinator
Email: newsroom@taylorandfrancis.com
Tel.: +44 (0)20 7017 6571

Follow us on Twitter: @tandfnewsroom

The article is freely available via the following link:

http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14772019.2019.1625078

About Taylor & Francis Group

Taylor & Francis Group partners with researchers, scholarly societies, universities and libraries worldwide to bring knowledge to life. As one of the world's leading publishers of scholarly journals, books, ebooks and reference works our content spans all areas of Humanities, Social Sciences, Behavioural Sciences, Science, and Technology and Medicine.

From our network of offices in Oxford, New York, Philadelphia, Boca Raton, Boston, Melbourne, Singapore, Beijing, Tokyo, Stockholm, New Delhi and Cape Town, Taylor & Francis staff provide local expertise and support to our editors, societies and authors and tailored, efficient customer service to our library colleagues.

Taylor & Francis Group

Related Dinosaur Articles:

How to weigh a dinosaur
A new study looks at dinosaur body mass estimation techniques revealing different approaches still yield strikingly similar results.
How dinosaur research can help medicine
The intervertebral discs connect the vertebrae and give the spine its mobility.
New species of dinosaur discovered on Isle of Wight
A new study by Palaeontologists at the University of Southampton suggests four bones recently found on the Isle of Wight belong to new species of theropod dinosaur, the group that includes Tyrannosaurus rex and modern-day birds.
First dinosaur eggs were soft like a turtle's
New research suggests that the first dinosaurs laid soft-shelled eggs -- a finding that contradicts established thought.
To think like a dinosaur
Palaeontologists from St Petersburg University have been the first to study in detail the structure of the brain and blood vessels in the skull of the ankylosaur Bissektipelta archibaldi.
New feathered dinosaur was one of the last surviving raptors
Dineobellator notohesperus lived 67 million years ago. Steven Jasinski, who recently earned his doctorate from the School of Arts and Sciences working with Peter Dodson, also of the School of Veterinary Medicine, described the find.
The dinosaur in the cupboard under the stairs
The mystery surrounding dinosaur footprints on a cave ceiling in Central Queensland has been solved after more than a half a century.
How did dinosaur parents know when their kids had a fever?
How Did Dinosaur Parents Know When Their Kids Had a Fever?
Dinosaur brains from baby to adult
New research by a University of Bristol palaeontology post-graduate student has revealed fresh insights into how the braincase of the dinosaur Psittacosaurus developed and how this tells us about its posture.
Dinosaur bones are home to microscopic life
Scientists went looking for preserved collagen, the protein in bone and skin, in dinosaur fossils.
More Dinosaur News and Dinosaur Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.