Researchers find, name rare dinosaur from Appalachia

New York, Jan 26 (IANS) A team of researchers has identified and named 83 million-year-old dinosaur species that originated in the eastern United States — broadly referred to as Appalachia — after analysing the skeletal remains of it.

The researchers said the species, whose skeletal remains were found by a team of amateur fossil enthusiasts alongside a creek in Montgomery county, in the US state of Alabama in marine sediment, is the most complete, primitive duck-billed dinosaur ever to be discovered in the eastern US.

“This is a really important animal in telling us how they came to be and how they spread all over the world,” Gregory Erickson, a professor of Biological Science at Florida State University and researcher on the team, said.

The team, which had researchers from McWane Science Centre in Birmingham, Alabama, and the University of Bristol in Britain, named the new dinosaur Eotrachodon Orientalis, which means “dawn rough tooth from the east”.

The name is homage to “Trachodon” — the first duck-billed dinosaur named in 1856.

This duck-billed dinosaur — also known as a Hadrosaurid — was probably 20 to 30 feet long as an adult, mostly walked on its hind legs though it could come down on all four to graze on plants with its grinding teeth, and had a scaly exterior.

But what set it apart is that it had a large crest on its nose, the researchers said.

“This thing had a big ugly nose,” Erickson said.

Among the recovered remains of this new dinosaur are a complete skull, dozens of backbones, a partial hip bone and a few bones from the limbs. The dinosaur likely was washed out to sea by river or stream sediments after it died.

The research team outlined its findings in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

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