Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nasutuceratops titusi, a new ceratopsian from Utah

The Kaiparowits Formation of Late Cretaceous Campanian age, in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Southern Utah, has in recent years released a number of spectacular finds, including the ceratopsians Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops and the tyrannosaurid Teratophoneus.

This year sensation from Utah might well be another ceratopsian, Nasutuceratops titusi, known from an almost complete skull and an associated left forelimb, as well as skull fragments from two other individuals. Some skin impressions were also found with the forelimb. Nasutuceratops is still a nomen nudum (“naked name”), meaning it has not been officially and formally described in a published scientific journal yet. It has been named by Eric Karl Lund (advisor: Scott Sampson) in his Master of Science Geology thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Utah in 2010. In a comprehensive phylogenetical analysis, this short snouted long horned centrosaurine ceratopsian was found to be closely related to the contemporary Avaceratops lammersi from Montana.

To my knowledge, the talented paleoartist Andrey Atuchin is the first one to have made a reconstruction of this intriguing animal. Mine is far from being as good as his but here it is nevertheless.

Update: it has been officially described in 2013 as Nasutoceratops titusi by Sampson et al (with an "o" instead of a "u").

Ref: Sampson, S. D., Lund, E. K., Loewen, M. A., Farke, A. A, Clayton, K. E. 2013. A remarkable short-snouted horned dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous (late Campanian) of southern Laramidia. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280 (1766) 20131186.

Original artworks on Paleoexhibit are copyrighted to Nobu Tamura. Do not use without permission.