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

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 that lived 76 million years ago.
 
Its scientific name is Spiclypeus shipporum (spi-CLIP-ee-us ship-OR-um) but it's been nicknamed "Judith." The name was taken from the Judith River rock formation. That is where it was found in 2005 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, approximately 15 feet long and weighing 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 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 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."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is it unusual for a first-time fossil hunter to find a dinosaur?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (19)
  • mayaw-6-bar
    5/31/2016 - 08:38 p.m.

    It is unusual for a first time fossil hunter to find a dinosaur because it is rare for anyone to find a dinosaur, and secondly they do not really know what he was looking for. In paragraph seven, the article states that, "He had hired an amateur paleontologist to give him an introduction to fossil hunting on a ranch Shipp owned near the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument." This quote is telling us that he was getting an introduction in looking for fossils, and he did not have any experience because he was getting the introduction. Because he was having someone teach him the reader can infer that it was his first time. Therefore, it is unusual for a first time fossil hunter to find a dinosaur because it is rare for anyone to find a dinosaur, and secondly newbies are relatively unaware of what to look for. I found this article interesting. I enjoyed this article.

  • theaw-4-bar
    5/31/2016 - 08:48 p.m.

    It is unusual for a first time fossil hunter to find a dinosaur because the chance of finding a dinosaur is so rare. it is even unusual for a person whom has searched for fossils before to find a dinosaur's skeleton. A first-time fossil hunter may not know where to look and is more inexperienced than the average paleontologist. I liked this article and found it cool that something like this could happen.

  • tiffanyf-1-bar
    5/31/2016 - 11:11 p.m.

    It is unusual for a first-time fossil hunter to find a dinosaur because they have less experience in the task of discovering the fossils. When Shipp found the bones, he had only just learned the basics of fossil hunting from an amateur paleontologist. He says,'"I found it accidentally on purpose...I was actually looking for dinosaur bones, but with no expectation of actually finding any."' (Paragraph 8) This article was interesting because finding the fossil of a dinosaur would be an amazing experience ad it sounds very cool.

  • elijahb-6-bar
    6/02/2016 - 01:18 p.m.

    It's unusual to find a first time fossil of a dinosaur because people have been finding dinosaur fossils for centuries said John Scannella. I think this is pretty cool that its still possible to find a dinosaur fossil in the year 2016.

  • reidi-4-bar
    6/02/2016 - 04:13 p.m.

    A novice fossils collector found a fossil that all fossil hunters want to find.Spiclypeus shipporum was the name of the fissile that he found in the badlands of Montanna. I think it is very cool that they are still finding new and unusual fossils.

  • angelinat-3-bar
    6/02/2016 - 09:18 p.m.

    It is unusual because many long-term archaeologists spend their whole lives looking for bones and never ind anything, and the fact that a first-time fossil hunter finds one is out of the ordinary. The article says, "Shipp told The Associated Press that he stumbled across what turned out to be Judith's femur bone in 2005." This shows that Shipp was not expecting to find Judith and it came as a surprise. I was surprised by this article because I didn't know that a first-time fossil hunter could find something of so much value. I was interested in this article because I like to learn about fossils.

  • carsonk-2-bar
    6/06/2016 - 03:18 p.m.

    It is unusual for a first-time fossil hunter to find a dinosaur because they are new and they aren't as wise in the subject. "I was actually looking for dinosaur bones, but with no expectation of actually finding any." This article is interesting because a person to find a fossil at their first time is nearly impossible. This article surprised me because the guy who found it was his first time.

  • jacksonm-2-bar
    6/06/2016 - 06:34 p.m.

    The only support to this question is that a new fossil hunter is new and has very little experience. I don't think that there is a good chance that a hunter with a good skill set will find a dinosaur, compared to a less experienced hunter.

    This article was interesting to me because dinosaurs ruled our earth along time ago and now were finding even more of that species.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    6/07/2016 - 02:44 p.m.

    I think that it is cool how a novice fossil collector found the femur bone of a new dinosaur species. It was named Judith after the rock formation. This new dinosaur species was found kind of like an accident because the founder didn't expect it. It had an infection in the leg and probably died at a young age.
    It is unusual for a first-time fossil hunter to find a dinosaur because they are inexperienced.

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