Two new species of dinosaurs have recently been identified. The large-sized animals lived on earth in the late Cretaceous Period. Their fossils were unearthed in Montana and Utah.
Both dinosaurs pertain to the group known as ceratopsians and sported horns and spikes. The most famous member of the ceratopsians is the Triceratops, which lived 68 million years in North America and is easily recognizable due to its spiky bone shield.
The first new species, dubbed the Machairoceratops cronusi, roamed the earth about 77 million years ago. Its remains were found at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. Although the fossils were incomplete, Eric Lund, a paleontologist at Ohio University, estimated that the Machairoceratops was up to 26 feet long and featured two spikes, extending from the back of its bone shield. Also, although the fossils did not show that, it is believed that the dinosaur also had three other horns, two over its eyes and one over the nose.
The other species was Spiclypeus shipporum, which lived around 76 million years ago. The fossils, which were uncovered near Winifred, Montana, consisted of a skull, backbone, hips and fragments of the animal’s legs. The remains indicated that the dinosaur was approximately 15 feet tall. It is estimated that the animal, a female that was ten years old when she died, weighed about 4 tons. According to paleontologist Jordan Mallon of Ottawa’s Canadian Museum of Nature, the species had brow horns pointed sideways rather than forward and spikes at the back of its bony neck shield, pointing outward and forward. The horns and the spikes, Mallon believed, were perhaps used for the purpose of species recognition. Close inspection revealed that the specimen had suffered from arthritis and bone infection, which made one of her limbs unsuitable for walking.
The fossils of the Spiclypeus shipporum were found by retired nuclear physicist Bill Shipp, who was visiting his newly purchased land. They are now hosted by the Canadian Museum of Nature, which bought them in 2015. Shipp had discovered the fossils ten years earlier.
According to Mallon, this discovery highlights the great diversity of dinosaurs living in North America in the late Cretaceous period.
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