Stories tagged dlf0ffkbb00talgw4erolllg5o

Sep
24
2013

Big-nosed dinosaur: Nasutoceratops gets its name party from its extremely big nose.
Big-nosed dinosaur: Nasutoceratops gets its name party from its extremely big nose.Courtesy Lukas Panzann
(Psst everybody.....don't mention anything about his big nose. Got it? He's kind of sensitive about it.)

Okay, paleontologists from the University of Utah have recently discovered a new dinosaur very similar to triceratops, that has a very large...um, um, set of horns.

Roaming about present day Utah some 76 million years ago, measured about 15 feet long. Its colossal 4.5-foot skull bore a single horn over the nose, a horn above each eye and an elongated, bony frill toward the rear. Its large, flat teeth were perfect for eating plant matter.

But what really set this dinosaur apart is its extremely large...um, um, feet. Yeah that's it. This 2.5 ton dinosaur walked around great big feet.

Its horns are much more curved than Triceritops – almost looking like cattle horns – yet its frill is much more plain than its cousin's. Paleontologists have long speculated about the function of horns and frills on horned dinosaurs. Ideas have ranged from predator defense and controlling body temperature to recognizing members of the same species. But prevailing view today is that the horns primary purpose was for competing for mates.

And of course, Nasutoceratops had a huge honking schnoz on the front of its face, a nose bigger than any of its planting-eating, frilled and horned relative. (Ooops, I wasn't supposed to say that, was I.) But researchers don't think the big nose gave Nasutoceratops a more refined sense of smell. Olfactory receptors would have sat farther back in the skull, just like other dinosaurs. Like the horns, the big nose was probably a key to attracting mates.