New dinosaur discovered in Arizona!

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Don’t worry, they are still extinct.

Scientists from the New Mexico Musum of Natural History, and the Archaeology Program of the Maryland National Capitcal Parks and Planning Commission (no, archaeologists normally do not look for dinosaurs) report the discovery of Crittenden krzyzanowskii, which means “critter that will bite your face off”*, in southeastern Arizona.

Figure 3 from the origional paper. Generalized stratigraphic section of the lower Fort Crittenden Formation in Adobe (the Canyon, not the software) Canyon, showing the location of tetrapod localities.
This creature, uncannily Land That Time Forgotesque in appearance, is a centrosaur, the group of horned dinosaurs that includes the famous Triceratops, found in the Upper Cretaceous, almost all found in North America (there are as many as three localities in Central and East Asia with similar forms).

This newly discovered dinosaur was about 11 feet long, ate plants, and lived in a region of a large lake. By comparison, the more classically known Tricerotops ran between 25 and 30 feet in length.

This is seen as a new species, as is the case with this type of dinosaur, because of details of the “frill” part of the back of the skull. According to the researchers, the “parietosquamosal frill of C. krzyzanowskii had a broad medial ramus and at least five epiparietal loci situated around the margin …, a typical characteristic of Centrosaurinae. The epiparietals are pronounced triangles that are dorsally concave and ventrally convex.” And, as if that wasn’t enough, two large, triangular hook-like flanges, nearly the size of the epiparietal loci, are situated along the dorsomedial margin of the parietal ramus. The left squamosal has a pronounced dorsal ridge with a single dorsal squamosal process and large episquamosal undulations, a typical characteristic of Centrosaurinae.” I know, TMI.

In an important note on timing, the researchers also note that “the presence of C. krzyzanowskii in Arizona indicates that the nasutoceratopsins persisted into the late Campanian. The temporal and paleobiogeographic distribution of Nasutoceratopsini further weakens the hypothesis of distinct northern and southern Laramidian provinces.” I’m pretty sure I always thought this, and I’m happy to see it finally supported in the fossil record.

Full citation: Lucas, Spencer, Sebastian Dalman, Asher Lichting, and John-Paul Michael Hodnett. 2018. A new ceratopsid dinosaur (Centrosaurinae: Nasutoceratopsini) from the Fort Crittenden Formation, Upper Cretaceaus (Campanian) of Arizona. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 79. You can probably see the original paper HERE.

*Only joking. From the press release, “the name Crittendenceratops is for the Fort Crittenden Formation (the rock formation that yielded the dinosaur fossils) and Greek ceratops, which means horned face. The species name krzyzanowskii is for the late Stan Krzyzanowski, a NMMNHS Research Associate who discovered the bones of the new dinosaur.”

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5 thoughts on “New dinosaur discovered in Arizona!

  1. Re: “. . . The left squamosal has a pronounced dorsal ridge with a single dorsal squamosal process and large episquamosal undulations, a typical characteristic of Centrosaurinae.” I know, TMI.”

    That shows up the appeal of creationists’ “kinds” which are mostly based on simple, external resemblances a 4-year old human can recognize: horsy, doggy, birdie. Oh, and nothing large can possibly have evolved from a small ancestor.

  2. Interesting artist’s conception. It makes it look like the dino had eyes like a chameleon, that could move independently of each other.

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