Health/Science
3:07 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Paleontologists Discover "Tween" Dinosaur In Alaska

One hole in the ground of Alaska has revealed a second great surprise. Paleontologists from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas have uncovered a baby dinosaur in the same spot they uncovered a new species of dinosaur years ago.

Meet the tween version of “Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum,” or the “thick-nosed reptile.”

The adult version was discovered by paleontologist Anthony Fiorillo in 2006. Neither Fiorillo or Ron Tykoski, who is fossil preparator at the museum, had any idea the quarry in Northern Alaska held anything but adult fossils.

“And then all of sudden we had this little surprise come out of a block of rock,” Tykosky says.

It’s changed how they see the species. We’ve known about dinosaurs living in Alaska for decades, but Tykoski says one of the great questions was whether 70 million years ago these animals were living in that harsh cold year round or migrating for warmer weather in the winter. Now, there’s an answer.

“This particular little specimen of an only partially-grown animal sort of suggests to us they were occupying this environment all year,” Tykosky says. “Northern Alaska was evidently a nice place to live if you were a big lumpy-faced, plant eating dinosaur.”

One of the key features of the species is its big head – which has a battering ram-like bulge. Tykosky says the newly found younger skull, which has a more narrow horn on the snout, suggests that its after puberty that big lump grows and thickens into, well...

“Definitely only a face a mother could love.”

The scientific paper describing the find –was just published in the science journal PLOS ONE