A New Dinosaur Has Been Discovered — And He’s Hungry

Researchers have discovered a new dinosaur with the resilience to live in darkness for months at a time and endure the unforgiving high Arctic of Alaska.

Ugrunaaluk (oo-GREW-na-luck) kuukpikensis (KOOK-pik-en-sis) was a duck-billed herbivore that grew to a length of up to 30 feet and chewed with hundreds of individual teeth made for eating coarse vegetation, researchers with the University of Alaska Museum of the North revealed Tuesday.

The dino is from a distinct species of hadrosaur, one that lived 69 million years ago in temperatures far cooler than his hadrosaur cousins found in Canada and the lower 48 states.

According to a university press release:

Earth sciences curator Pat Druckenmiller said the majority of the bones used in the study came from the Liscomb Bone Bed, a fossil-rich layer along the Colville River in the Prince Creek Formation, a unit of rock deposited on the Arctic flood plain about 69 million years ago.

“Today we find these animals in polar latitudes,” Druckenmiller said. “Amazingly, they lived even farther north during the Cretaceous Period. These were the northern-most dinosaurs to have lived during the Age of Dinosaurs. They were truly polar.”

It’s the fourth known species unique to northern Alaska. Its bones were actually discovered decades ago, but were misclassified.

Most of the fossils were found in the Liscomb Bone Bed, more than 300 miles northwest of Fairbanks and a little more than 100 miles south of the Arctic Ocean. The bed is named for geologist Robert Liscomb, who found the first dinosaur bones in Alaska in 1961 while mapping for Shell Oil Co.

Liscomb thought the bones came from mammals. They remained in storage for about two decades, until someone identified the fossils as dinosaur bones, said Druckenmiller.

Researchers over the next 25 years excavated and catalogued more than 6,000 hadrosaur bones, far more than for —> Read More