A slew of fossils in Alaska have been discovered this year. Another new species of dinosaur has been announced on top of the plesiosaur fossil that was made known to the public in late July.
“We know that there’s at least 12 to 13 distinct species of dinosaurs on the North Slope in northern Alaska, ” said Patt Druckenmiller on the influx of fossils being discovered and named in Alaska.
Druckenmiller works as the curator of fossils at the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks, and while he is pleased with the latest discovery he shed some light on the road blocks archaeologists and the scientific community face this far up north.
“Not all of the material we find is adequate enough to actually name a new species,” he added. Luckily there was just enough for the public release of this new species.
According to the Seattle Times, this new find comes from the duckbilled species, a herbivore whose remains have also been found in Asia and Europe. Researchers have named the species Ugrunaaluk kuukpikenis, meaning “ancient grazer” in the language of the Alaskan Inupiat Eskimos.
Many of the bones found belonged to juveniles of the species. Adults were speculated to grow up to 30 feet long, and had hundreds of teeth to help chew through the thick, coarse vegetation that had been growing in Alaska 69 million years ago.
“It appears that a herd of young animals was killed suddenly, wiping out mostly one similar-aged population to create this deposit,” explains Druckenmiller.
Most of the fossils of this new species were found in in the Liscomb Bone Bed, a fossil deposit located 300 miles northwest of Fairbanks that was named after geologist Robert Liscomb.