A new species of dinosaur has been discovered by a group of researchers from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, alongside researcher Dr Nick Longrich from the University of Bath. The new and exciting discovery of these fossils was made in the rocks of the Hall Lake Formation in New Mexico in 1990, where they were originally dug up. At first, researchers thought the fossils belonged to a species of dinosaur known as the ‘Torosaurus’. However it was only recently, upon a re-examination of the skeleton by NMMNHS paleontology students Sebastian Dalman, Spencer Lucas, Steve Jasinski, and Nick Longrich, that the new species was discovered.
Upon further inspection, it was discovered that the new species of horned dinosaur was completely unrelated to dinosaurs that had been previously found in the northern part of the continent. The new dinosaur, known as the Sierraceratops Turneri, lived in New Mexico about 72 million years ago, distinguishable by its short but large brow horns, as well as having a sizeable skull of around 5 foot long. It’s overall length was around 15 feet. This species had never been previously found in America until now. This exciting new finding suggests that there are still many dinosaur species that remain to be discovered in North America.
Dr Nick Longrich, from the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, said: “Part of the reason dinosaurs became so diverse is that they would specialize on different habitats, just like modern birds or mammals.
“These are huge animals, and you’d think they would be widespread. But in fact, it’s not the same species living everywhere. Different species probably adapted to the local climate, plants, predators, and diseases giving them an edge against invaders from outside.”
Interestingly, this latest finding is part of a larger wave of new dinosaur discoveries that has been taking place in North America over recent years. These discoveries are helping both researchers and scientists to paint a bigger picture of dinosaur history and anatomy, helping to further understand their behaviors and environment.