Monday 2 July 2012

New species of End Cretaceous Hadrosaur from the Russian Far East.

Hadrosaurs, or Duck-Billed Dinosaurs, were large herbivorous Ornithischian Dinosaurs widespread across Laurasia (Eurasia plus North America; Laurasia split away from the southern continents in the Triassic, the split into North America and Eurasia during the Cretaceous) during the Late Cretaceous. They were descended from the earlier Iguanadontids, but with more sophisticated jaws and teeth, which allowed them to chew their food, not by side-to-side motion as in a modern mammal, but by a unique flexion of the upper jaw parts, which moved apart as the lower jaw moved upwards (from which scientists conclude these Dinosaurs must have had lips, unlike any modern relative of the Dinosaurs). The Hadrosaurs are divided into two groups, the Lambeosaurs, which had hollow boney crests, thought to have been used for making sounds, and the Saurolophides, which either lacked crests or had solid ones.

In a paper published in the journal PLoS One on 30 May 2012, Pascal Godefroit of the Department of Palaeontology at the Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique, Yuri Bolotsky of the Institute of Geology and Nature Management at the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Pascaline Lauters of the Section of Anthropology at the Universit√© Libre de Bruxelles, announce the discovery of a new species of Saurolophine Hadrosaur from the Maastrichtian (Latest Cretaceous, 70.6-65.5 million years ago) Kundur Location in the Amur Oblast of the Russian Far East.

Map showing the location of the Kundur Site. Godefroit et al. (2012).

The new species is named Kundurosaurus nagornyi, or Nagorny's Kundu-lizard in honor of V.A. Nagorny of the Far Eastern Institute of Mineral Resources, who discovered the Kundu locality. No complete reconstruction of the animal is attempted, but its skull was probably slightly in excess of 1 m, suggesting a fairly large animal, probably in excess of 10 m.

Reconstruction of the skull of Kundurosaurus nagornyiGodefroit et al. (2012).

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