Paleontologists discover a new species of dinosaur in Utah

Jul 19, 2013

When a team of paleontologists started digging in the Southern Utah desert, they never expected to find a new species of dinosaur unique to Utah.

The Nasutoceratops titusi, a dinosaur similar to the famous Triceratops is estimated to have been about 15 feet in length and 2.5 tons. The discovery and research of the Nasutoceratops titusi, who’s name can be translated to big-nosed horn face, has been published by a British scientific journal and unveiled at the University of Utah.

Co-author Mike Loewen said the team was surprised to not find the same animals as in other parts of the continent. Just as in deer today are the same species in the Rocky Mountains all the way from Canada to Mexico.

“We expected to find the same kinds of dinosaurs that are in exactly the same age of rock in Canada,” Loewen said. “Instead we found similar dinosaurs but each one of them is a different genus and species. We’ve been finding dinosaurs that are endemic to Utah and that’s not exactly what we would have expected.”

Scott Sampson, who led the team, said the discovery of a huge land animal that undoubtedly lived at the same time as other large animals in a small area, shows research how much there is still to learn about dinosaurs.

“The Nasutoceratops titusi stems all the way from that brand new level of cool dinosaur to representing a new group to actually informing us about this major mystery tells us that we’re just beginning to understand the world of dinosaurs,” Sampson said.

A reconstruction of the Nasutoceratops titusi is on display at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

Tavin Stucki is a senior in Utah State University's journalism program, and works as a news reporting intern at UPR. He lives for sports, and is the current editor in chief at The Utah Statesman.