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New dinosaur with giant nose discovered

Last Updated: Monday, December 10, 2012 - 15:11

Washington: Scientists have discovered a new dinosaur with a large prominent nose in northern Mexico, which lived about 73-million-years ago.

The duck-billed dinosaur, Latirhinus uitstlani lived during the Late Cretaceous period and its wide nasal cavity might have given it incredible smell-detecting ability.

"Also, it might have supported and provided enhanced space for a soft tissue structure, sort of like an inflatable bladder, for display, recognition and communication purposes in general," said lead researcher Albert Prieto-Marquez from Bayerische Staatssammlung fur Palaontologie und Geologie in Munich.

The dinosaur also possessed sturdy hind limbs ending in three toes, and relatively smaller and thinner forelimbs ending in 4 digits - meaning this animal was thumb-less, the `Discovery News` reported.

"When walking and feeding, Latirhinus would normally walk on four legs, although when it needed to increase the pace and run, it could rise on its two hind legs. A long tail would extend posteriorly to counterbalance the anterior part of the body," Prieto-Marquez said.

He added that these dinosaurs were herbivores with "a few thousand teeth closely packed together to form a grinding surface to chew the vegetation they fed upon."

The environment that Latirhinus inhabited was likely warmer and more humid than it is today, with lakes and bays nearby, the report said.

Prieto-Marquez said the new dinosaur is important for at least four major reasons.

"First, it expands our knowledge of the diversity of hadrosaurids (duck-billed dinosaurs) both anatomically - it shows us how hadrosaurids were able to evolve really bizarre structures to become better adapted to their environment - and regarding biodiversity, adding yet another new genus and species of these animals," he said.
Researchers said the dinosaur helps to fill a gap in our knowledge of the fossil record of these animals in southern North America. It provides a link between North American and South American dinosaurs of their kind.
The dinosaur also strengthens prior speculation that this type and its relatives dominated the region back in the day.


First Published: Monday, December 10, 2012 - 15:11

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