New dinosaur found in Montana
New dinosaur found in Montana This June 16, 2006 photo provided by the Canadian Museum of Nature shows the hillside excavation site where dinosaur bones belonging to Spiclypeus shipporum were unearthed, in Winifred, Mont. (Joe Small/Canadian Museum of Nature via AP/Martin Lipman)
New dinosaur found in Montana
Lexile: 940L

Assign to Google Classroom

A novice fossil collector's lucky find in a remote Montana badlands more than a decade ago has turned out to be a new kind of spectacularly horned dinosaur, researchers have announced.
The bones were unearthed near Winifred, Montana. They represent a previously unknown species of dinosaur. It lived 76 million years ago.
Its scientific name is Spiclypeus shipporum (spi-CLIP-ee-us ship-OR-um). But it has been nicknamed "Judith." The name was taken from the Judith River rock formation. That is where it was found in 2005. It was found by retired nuclear physicist Bill Shipp.
Canadian Museum of Nature paleontologist Jordan Mallon says Judith is closely related to the well-known Triceratops. Both had horned faces and elaborate head frills. Judith's horns stick out sideway instead of over the eyes.
Like Triceratops, Judith was a plant-eater. Judith was approximately 15 feet long and weighed up to four tons, Mallon said.
Shipp told The Associated Press that he stumbled across what turned out to be Judith's femur bone in 2005.
He had hired an amateur paleontologist to give him an introduction to fossil hunting on a ranch Shipp owned. The ranch is near the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. As Shipp worked his way around an eroded rocky outcropping on the property, he saw a piece of bone. It was sticking several inches out of the ground.
"I found it accidentally on purpose," Shipp said. "I was actually looking for dinosaur bones, but with no expectation of actually finding any."
After recovering six bones during an initial dig, Shipp brought in a team the next summer. The team spent two years excavating and cleaning the bones.
They ended up with half of Judith's skull and parts of its legs, hips and backbone. It wasn't until last year, after the bones were acquired by the Canadian Museum of Nature, that Mallon formally identified them as belonging to a new genus and species of dinosaur.
Judith was at least 10 years old when it died.
An examination of its bones was done by Edward Iuliano. He is a radiologist at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, Washington. The exam revealed evidence of a severe leg infection that would have left the animal hobbled. The injury made Judith potentially vulnerable to Tyrannosaurus rex-like predators that lived around the same period, Mallon said.
"It's an exciting story, because it's a new species. And yet we have this sort of pathetic individual that suffered throughout its lifetime," Mallon said. "If you're hobbling along on three limbs, you're probably not going to be able to keep up with the herd."
Details on the find were published in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE.
A public exhibit featuring a reconstruction of Judith's skull and other bones from the find on Bill Shipp's ranch opens May 24. It will be at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.
Fewer than a dozen dinosaur species have been discovered in the Judith formation. This is despite more than a century of exploration in the area, said John Scannella. He is manager of paleontology collections at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana.
"This new animal provides another piece in the puzzle of our view of what the ecosystem of central Montana 76 million years ago was like," Scannella said. "It really is our first glimpse of a whole new animal that we weren't aware of. That's inherently cool."

Source URL:

Filed Under:  
Assigned 207 times
Why is it unusual for a first-time fossil hunter to find a dinosaur?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • aidenb2-kut
    5/24/2016 - 05:27 p.m.

    I wonder what are the odds of finding dinosaur bones and is there more in that area I would imagine that there is no more in that area. But it is very possible

  • william1108-yyca
    5/24/2016 - 06:38 p.m.

    It is sort of amazing that people actually found a fossil in Montana. I have actually never seen a person dig up a fossil in real life. But I actually wish that I could actually see one in real life. Maybe one day I will find a fossil and maybe become famous because I found one.

  • dashiellg-3-bar
    5/24/2016 - 07:02 p.m.

    It is unusual for a first-time fossil hunter to find a dinosaur because many people can be looking for fossils their whole life and never find one, but this guy just stumbled upon one. "I found it accidentally on purpose," the discoverer said, "I was actually looking for dinosaur bones, but with no expectation of actually finding any." It is especially unusual for a first-time fossil hunter to find a new species of dinosaur. I found this article interesting of the fact that one of "Judith's" bones were just sticking out of the ground.

  • erickf-san
    5/25/2016 - 11:55 a.m.

    I think it's unusual for a first time fossil hunter to find a dinosaur because they don't have much experience with dinosaur projects and stuff like that so it would have been harder for them to find dinosaur bones

  • valeriam-san
    5/25/2016 - 12:04 p.m.

    It is unusual because. He is a dinosaur hunter and he still hasn't find a bone. That's why it is unusual. He shouldn't have all ready found a dinosaur a long time ago .

  • josuev-san
    5/25/2016 - 12:06 p.m.

    It is unusual for a first time cause it's was a practice on what to do

  • briannam-san
    5/25/2016 - 12:06 p.m.

    It was unusual for the first time fossil hunter to find a dinosour was only 10 years when the dinosour died and the fossils were going to get baried high up in the hill

  • destinyg-san
    5/25/2016 - 12:10 p.m.

    Because dinosaurs don't exist anymore so that's why it's unusual. People think that dinosaurs are fake. I thought dinosaurs were fake but they did exist. But someone found bones of a Spiclypeus.

  • samanthas-1-ste
    5/25/2016 - 01:02 p.m.

    It is very unusual for a first time fossil hunter to find a dinosaur because they are not always the most experienced. I think it is funny how he found such an important fossil of a dinosaur by an accident.

  • autianae-ste
    5/25/2016 - 01:25 p.m.

    It's unusual for a first-time fossil hunter because people wouldn't think that an amateur would be more successful than a professional hunter who has more experience. Shipp said,"I found it accidentally on purpose."

Take the Quiz Leave a comment