WASHINGTON: Researchers have discovered a new hadrosaur species on Alaska’s North Slope, finding evidence for the “lost world” of the cold weather dinosaurs.
The University of Alaska Museum of the North researchers have described a new species of hadrosaur, a type of duck-billed dinosaur that once roamed the North Slope of Alaska in herds, living in darkness for months at a time and probably experiencing snow.
Ugrunaaluk (oo-GREW-na-luck) kuukpikensis (KOOK-pik-en-sis) grew up to 30 feet long and was a superb chewer with hundreds of individual teeth well-suited for eating coarse vegetation.
Earth sciences curator Pat Druckenmiller said the majority of the bones used in the study came from the Liscomb Bone Bed, a fossil-rich layer along the Colville River in the Prince Creek Formation, a unit of rock deposited on the Arctic flood plain about 69 million years ago.
The name, which means ancient grazer, was a collaborative effort between scientists and Inupiaq speakers.
Currently, there are three named dinosaurs documented from the North Slope, including two plant eaters and one carnivore. However, most of those species are known from incomplete material. Ugrunaaluk is far and away the most complete dinosaur yet found in the Arctic or any polar region, Druckenmiller said, adding that they have multiple elements of every single bone in the body.
The study appears in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica journal.