PROVO — Paleontologists from Brigham Young University and North Carolina State University recently identified a Utah dinosaur known for the size of its nose.
The Rhinorex condrupus, which directly translates to “King Nose,” was native to Utah in the late Cretaceous period, according to a BYU news release.
“This dinosaur has huge nostrils,” said Rodney Scheetz, curator of BYU’s Museum of Paleontology, according to the news release. “The skull has huge narial openings, but we can only guess what the soft tissue looked like.
Researchers guess that the dinosaur’s large nose was a benefit to social identification and attracting a mate, and they were assured they are working with a new species when they studied its well-preserved skin impressions and reassembled its fossils.
“Skin impressions are one of the most valuable things because they are extremely rare,” Scheetz said, according to the news release. “A lot of the dinosaur itself is yet to be prepared because we haven’t figured out a way to prepare the rock off the bones without ruining the skin impressions.”
We've got, as I call it, the Costco of dinosaurs. Students have the chance to go out in the field with us to collect the materials, to work in the lab, and to work on describing these things with us. -Brooks Britt
The Rhinorex condrupus was estimated to be 30 feet long and 8,500 pounds. It dwelled in swampy areas and was a herbivore, according to the BYU news release.
BYU paleontologists unearthed the dinosaur at Neslen Formation above the slopes of the Book Cliffs in eastern Utah.
The nose king was transported by helicopter down the mountain.
The BYU Museum of Paleontology has fossils from Utah, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, according to the news release.
“We’ve got three different buildings that contain these bones. We’ve got, as I call it, the Costco of dinosaurs,” says BYU paleontologist Brooks Britt, according to the news release. “Students have the chance to go out in the field with us to collect the materials, to work in the lab, and to work on describing these things with us.”