Prehistoric Bevo? Paleontologists Discover “Texas Longhorn” Dinosaur

Prehistoric Bevo: Paleontologists Discover "Texas Longhorn" Dinosaur

Dubbed the “Texas longhorn” of its family tree, there’s a good chance that this newly discovered dinosaur would have given Bevo a run for his money.

Nasutoceratops titusi, a relative of Triceratops, was discovered by a team of paleontologists at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah.

“One of our grad students, Eric Lund, was climbing a ridge and found the skull sticking out of a rock,” says University of Utah professor Mark Loewen, a co-author of the new study and a member of the team that unearthed the dinosaur’s remains in 2006. After about six years of excavation and research, their findings have finally been brought to the public eye. Nasutoceratops is a member of the ceratopsid family, a group of herbivores that lived about 84 to 70 million years ago. But sporting oversized horns and an unusually large nose—hence the nickname “Texas longhorn”—Nasutoceratops is like nothing the paleontologists had ever seen before.

The discovery supports the theory of dinosaur provincialism, which attempts to explain the phenomenon of dinosaur diversity across western North America. Scientists would have expected to find the same species of dinosaurs in the northern U.S. as in the south, but instead found a vast variety, Loewen explains. Supported by the discovery of the unique Nasutoceratops, the dinosaur provincialism theory states that some sort of unknown barrier must have kept the dinosaurs from interbreeding.

Bevo himself would probably approve of the dinosaur’s intimidating rack. Nasutoceratops may have been a herbivore, but it had the longest horn above the eye of any other member of its group.

“This is the one ceratopsid you don’t want to do the Running of the Bulls with,” Loewen says.

Paleontologists Discover “Texas Longhorn” Dinosaur

From top: Nasutoceratops titusi illustration by Andrey Atuchin. Nasutoceratops titusi skull reconstruction on white by Rob Gaston. Images courtesy Mark Loewen.


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