After Years in a Drawer, ‘strange' Big Bend Dinosaur Identified as New Species

A set of fossils sat in a drawer for 15 years before researchers re-examined the bones this year and identified a new species of duck-billed dinosaur, one of the earliest in its evolutionary tree.The wait was just a drop in the bucket for the Aquilarhinus palimentus — a species that lived 80 million years ago when its home was on the coast of an ocean that is now the Chihuahuan Desert.Texas Tech University professor Tom Lehman originally found the fossils in the 1980s in Big Bend National Park. Lehman, a master’s student at the time, is one of the three authors who published research Friday in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology identifying the new dinosaur.Albert Prieto-Márquez, the lead author who worked to identify the Aquilarhinus, first laid eyes on the fossils in 2004, while he was completing his Ph.D. dissertation at Florida State University. “Strange,” he thought when he saw them. The animal’s jaw bone was unlike other dinosaurs from the hadrosaurid family, a group of duck-billed dinosaurs that paleontologists were confident the dinosaur belonged to.  Continue reading...

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