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Strange new dinosaur discovered in Utah

A new, unusual-looking dinosaur, Nasutoceratops, offers evidence of how horned dinosaurs might have evolved in North America.

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Nasutoceratops had huge, curved horns and a humongous nose.

Lukas Panzarin/Mark Loewen

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An unusual dinosaur from Utah’s Cretaceous period has been categorized as a new genus, offering a new portrait of two distinct dinosaur communities in what is now the western United States.

Described in a study published in the current issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society BNasutoceratops titusi, or "big-nose, horn-face," is named for its most significant features: the two enormous horns protruding from its head and its prodigious snout. It the first from the group of short-frilled, horned dinosaurs to have been found in the American south, revising previous theories that those dinosaurs lived only in the north.

“It’s not every day you find a whole new group of dinosaurs,” says Scott Sampson, a paleontologist at The Denver Museum of Nature & Sciences and the lead author on the study, in a phone interview. “And this is a linchpin to demonstrate that there were distinct dinosaur communities in the north and south.”

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