King Nose: Newly Discovered Hadrosaur Species Had Huge Nose

Posted on October 5, 2014

A newly discovered hadrosaur species is being named for its very large nose. Paleontologists from North Carolina State University and Brigham Young University have named the dinosaur Rhinorex condropus. They say Rhinorex translates into King Nose. A Rhinorex's foot is being attacked in the above artist's illustration.

The dinosaur roamed the Earth 75 million years ago and inhabited a swampy area near the coast. Rhinorex was a plant-eater. It measured 30 feet long and weighed over 8,5000 lbs. It was related to other hadrosaurs that lived during the Cretaceous period, including Parasaurolophus and Edmontosaurus. However, Rhinorex had a huge nose instead of a bony crest. The researchers have been examining a skull specimen of Rhinorex that was unearthed in the 1990s in Utah.

Terry Gates, a joint postdoctoral researcher with NC State and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, says in a statement, "We had almost the entire skull, which was wonderful, but the preparation was very difficult. It took two years to dig the fossil out of the sandstone it was embedded in - it was like digging a dinosaur skull out of a concrete driveway."

The paleontologists say the purpose of Rhinorex's large nose is a mystery. They say it could have been used to locate mates or smash plants. They doubt the creature was a super smeller.

Gates says, "The purpose of such a big nose is still a mystery. If this dinosaur is anything like its relatives then it likely did not have a super sense of smell; but maybe the nose was used as a means of attracting mates, recognizing members of its species, or even as a large attachment for a plant-smashing beak. We are already sniffing out answers to these questions."

A research paper on Rhinorex can be found here in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology.

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