BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Nearly 35 years ago, fossils were unearthed at Big Bend National Park. While it may not have seemed significant at the time, that recently changed.
Those fossils have been used to identify a new dinosaur species, Aquilarhinus palimentus. According to Big Bend National Park, the fossils were discovered by Texas Tech Professor Tom Lehman back in the 1980s.
However, the fossils were badly weathered and stuck together making it difficult to study, park officials recall. Over time, however, scientists began making headway on the West Texas fossils and were able to differentiate it from other known species.
“This new animal is one of the more primitive hadrosaurids known and can, therefore, help us to understand how and why the ornamentation on their heads evolved, as well as where the group initially evolved and migrated from,” says lead author Dr. Albert Prieto-Márquez from the Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, near Barcelona. “Its existence adds another piece of evidence to the growing hypothesis, still up in the air, that the group began in the southwestern area of the U.S.”
Experts estimate that this particular species would have been in the Chihuahuan desert more than 80 million years ago.