Updated 02:08 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 22, 2021

New Dinosaur Discovered in Alaska

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If Ross Geller were still here, he would have peed in his pants, because yes, new dinosaur species have been discovered.

According to the Miami Herald, a new duck-billed dinosaur (dubbed as the Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis, meaning "ancient grazer") was recently found in Alaska. Scientists said that fossils from a unique plant-eating dinosaur were found in the high Arctic of the state and it may change how they see dinosaur physiology.

The dinosaurs were said to grow up to 30 feet long, with hundreds of teeth to help them chew on coarse vegetation. They may have walked primarily on their hind legs, but it is also equally possible for them to walk on all fours.

The paper, which was published on Tuesday, concluded that the bones found along Alaska's Colville River were from a distinct species of hadrosaur, a duck-billed species not connected to hadrosaurs previously identified in Canada or the other 48 states.

The recent discovery is now the fourth species that is unique to Northern Alaska, supporting the theory of Arctic-adapted dinosaurs living 69 million years ago. Gregory Erickson, a professor of biological science at the Florida State said about the discovery, "Basically a lost world of dinosaurs that we didn't realize existed."

These northern hadrosaur species would have been able to endure months of winter darkness and snow. "It was certainly not like the Arctic today up there -- probably in the 40s was the mean annual temperature," Erickson said. "Probably a good analogy is thinking about British Columbia," he added.

For now, researchers are working on naming other Alaskan dinosaurs. "We know that there's at least 12 to 13 distinct species of dinosaurs on the North Slope in northern Alaska. But not all of the material we find is adequate enough to actually name a new species," Pat Druckenmiller from the University of Alaska Museum said.

However, the next step for researchers is to find out how these species survived the Arctic. Mark Norell, curator of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York said that it was possible that these animals lived in the high Arctic year-round, as it's hard to imagine said small dinosaurs to be physically capable of long-distance migration.

"Furthermore, the climate was much less harsh in the Late Cretaceous than it is today, making sustainability easier," he added. Researchers noted that the mean annual temperature back then may actually be in the 40s although they maintained that these dinosaur species will still have to endure long winters with snow and little food.

What do you think of the continual discovery of bones from millions of years ago?

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