New species of dinosaur uncovered in Alaska In this 2015 photo released by the University of Alaska Museum of the North, a handful of dinosaur bones are seen after they were discovered at the Liscomb Bonebed on the Colville River, near Nuiqsut , Alaska. Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have found a third distinct dinosaur species documented on Alaska's oil-rich North Slope. The new species is a type of hadrosaur, a duck-billed plant-eater. (Pat Druckenmiller/UA Museum of the North via AP)
New species of dinosaur uncovered in Alaska
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Researchers have uncovered a species of plant-eating dinosaur in Alaska.
 
The animal was a variety of hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur that roamed in herds, said Pat Druckenmiller, earth sciences curator at the University of Alaska Museum in Fairbanks.
 
Northern Alaska likely was once covered by forest in a warmer climate. The dinosaur lived in darkness for months and probably experienced snow, researchers said.
 
The fossils were found in rock deposited 69 million years ago.
 
For at least 25 years, the fossils were lumped in with another hadrosaur, Edmontosaurus. It is a species well known in Canada and the U.S., including Montana and South Dakota. The formal study of the Alaska dinosaur revealed differences in skull and mouth features. That made it a different species, Druckenmiller said.
 
The differences were not immediately apparent because the Alaska dinosaurs were juveniles. Researchers teased out differences in the Alaska fossils, Druckenmiller said. They plotted growth trajectories and compared them with juvenile Edmontosaurus bones.
 
Researchers have dubbed the creature Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis (oo-GROO-nah-luk KOOK-pik-en-sis). The name means "ancient grazer." It was chosen by scientists with assistance from speakers of Inupiaq, the language of Alaska Inupiat Eskimos.
 
The dinosaurs grew up to 30 feet long. Hundreds of teeth helped them chew coarse vegetation. They probably walked primarily on their hind legs. But they could walk on four legs, Druckenmiller said.
 
Most of the fossils were found in the Prince Creek Formation of the Liscomb Bone Bed. The area is along the Colville River. It is more than 300 miles northwest of Fairbanks. The bed is named for geologist Robert Liscomb. He found the first dinosaur bones in Alaska in 1961. At the time, he was mapping for Shell Oil Co.
 
Museum scientists have excavated and catalogued more than 6,000 bones from the species. That is more than any other Alaska dinosaur. Most were small juveniles. They were estimated to have been about 9 feet long and 3 feet tall at the hips.
 
"It appears that a herd of young animals was killed suddenly, wiping out mostly one similar-aged population to create this deposit," Druckenmiller said.
 
UA Fairbanks graduate student Hirotsugu Mori completed his doctoral work on the species. Florida State University researcher Gregory Erickson, who specializes in using bone and tooth histology to interpret the paleobiology of dinosaurs, also was part of the study. They published their findings in the "Acta Palaeontologica Polonica." It is an international paleontology quarterly journal.
 
Researchers are working to name other Alaska dinosaurs.
 
The researchers said that at least 12 to 13 distinct species of dinosaurs lived on the North Slope in northern Alaska. But scientists have not been able to retrieve enough material to name another species.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why was the dino named “Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis?”
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (133)
  • hudsonh-ver
    9/29/2015 - 01:36 p.m.

    Were they discovered before this excavation.

    • garetb-sjo
      10/06/2015 - 11:08 a.m.

      did not know that

  • levenicel-Orv
    9/29/2015 - 03:36 p.m.

    wow this dinosaurs was over 69 millions year old i now dinosaurs where extinct a long time ago but 69 milllion years thats a long long longg time ago and this dinosaurs walked on its hine eegs and all four wowo what els are we going to fine the great mighty moboy dick or big foot this world is fool of things

  • rydertweet-bak
    9/29/2015 - 05:29 p.m.

    I do not know why.But can you teach me why it is called Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis.

  • mattsimonsen-bak
    9/29/2015 - 05:57 p.m.

    I wonder if other dinos were found in alaska.I'll ask even tomrow.

  • tialden-1-bar
    9/29/2015 - 06:49 p.m.

    The dino was named "Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis" because in other words that means "ancient grazer" as stated in the article. I found this article very interesting because I got to learn about a new dinosaur that I never knew existed before.

  • lucasl-3-bar
    9/29/2015 - 07:14 p.m.

    The dinosaur was named "Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis" because the name translates to "ancient grazer", as stated by the article. The title was chosen by scientists with help from Inupiaq speakers, the language of a group of Eskimos. Because the dino was an herbivore, the scientists chose a name translating to a description of the animal.

    The article was intriguing, provided interesting and important details about the hadrosaur. In addition to providing information about the discovering of the species, the report described the behavior and appearance of it.

  • williamb-6-bar
    9/29/2015 - 08:10 p.m.

    I thought every species of dinosaurs were discovered which was interesting. Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis is the name of the dinosaur and it similar to many dinosaurs. It surprises me that there are still more dinosaurs to find.

  • annabel1226-yyca
    9/29/2015 - 08:28 p.m.

    Wow!The scientists must have been excited to find out about the new species about the dinosaur. The scientists worked hard to find out the new species of the dinosaur, so they deserve to find out the new species.

  • umah-win
    9/29/2015 - 10:11 p.m.

    I think the name Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis because the dinosaurs traveled a lot. It does mean that it's a " ancient grazer".

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