Tony Hakim's Rhinorex

The discovery of the Rhinorex is very exciting. Via Tony Hakim

A new dinosaur has been discovered! Its name is Rhinorex and its defining feature is an exceptionally large nose. Tony Hakim has the details for all you dinosaur fans out there.

The body of the Rhinorex was found in Utah in 1992. Encased in sandstone, there was a skull, partial skeleton and skin impressions found by 2 geology students from the University of California.

The Rhinorex stood at approximately 9.1m long from head to tail and is likely to have weighed about 3,855kg. It was a member of the species hadrosaur. Hadrosaurs were herbivores and most had ornamental crests on top of their heads, however the Rhinorex did not. Instead it has a very large, hook-shaped nose. Scientists do not know what the purpose of this large nose was. It may have been used to smash plants, attract mates, or simply there to help them to distinguish themselves from other species of dinosaurs.

Tony Hakim's Rhinorex

This is an impression of the skin of the Rhinorex. Via Tony Hakim

It is believed that the Rhinorex lived around 75 million years ago. This is why palaeontologists are so intrigued by this discovery.  That particular period in the Utah area is somewhat of a question mark. This is because there were significant evolutionary differences between dinosaurs living in the west and those living in the south.

The evolution of the Rhinorex is of particular interest. If this newly found dinosaur did in fact live 75 million years ago in this Utah area, then it was living only 155 miles away from the Gryposaurus. This is unusual because the Gryposaurus is a close relative of the Rhinorex. In fact, it is thought that the Rhinorex was essentially an evolved Gryposaurus. Scientists think that the environment may be the reason for this differentiation between the two species. The Rhinorex was found near an estuary, whereas the Gryposaurus lived in a more of a swampy type of habitat. The other possible explanation for the evolution is that the Rhinorex actually lived after 75 million years ago.

The discovery of a new dinosaur is very exciting. Perhaps there are many more amazing prehistoric animals out there waiting to be unearthed. Tony Hakim hopes there are.


National Geographic, IFLScience

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