A team of Brigham Young University researchers recently discovered a new species of dinosaur. Dubbed by the team as the Moabosaurus Utahensis, the fossil was excavated from the Dalton Wells Quarry in Arches National Park which is about 12 miles northwest of Moab. Named after the city of Moab and the state of Utah, the researchers estimated that the skeleton is about 125 million-years-old. The constructed frame is about 32 feet long and is a relative of the Brachiosaurus and other dinosaurs found in Europe, Africa, and North America. The Moabosaurus is considered small for it species.
The team assembling the bones made constant comparisons to other “related specimens” to determine that this skeleton they discovered was different and indeed a new dinosaur, according to The Science Times. The Moabosaurus, the Brigham Young University researchers said, is a herbivore in the genus of sauropods. With a long neck, coarse teeth, thick legs and a “huge elephant-like body,” the researchers pieced together over 5,000 bones that were collected over decades.
The dinosaur lived in Utah during the time when the landscape was different with large trees, streams, and rivers. In a previous study, the dinosaurs living in Utah, including the Moabosaurus, may have died in a “severe drought” where their bones were crushed by other animals.
Brigham Young University geology professor and author of the study, Brooks Britt, said that “we’re lucky to get anything out of this site.” Most of the bones were in pieces with “only a small percentage of them were usable.” The dinosaurs likely died in one place, where their remains were crushed. Afterward, the remains were probably carried away by streams and deposited somewhere else where their bones were further destroyed. Other animals and insects likely fed off the carcasses and bones.
The Brigham Young University researchers decided to name the new dinosaur after Moab, Utah because of their support of the ongoing excavations over the past decades. “Sure, we could find bones at other places in the world, but we find so many right here in Utah,” Britt said. Adding that researchers did not have to travel halfway around the world to discover new species. The study was published by the University of Michigan’s Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology, reported Phys.org. The skeleton joins other dinosaur bones at Brigham Young University’s Museum of Paleontology.
By Cheryl Werber
Photo Courtesy Jaren Wilkey/BYU