Research Communications

Big-nosed, long-horned dinosaur discovered in Utah 

July 18, 2013

A new species of horned dinosaur with a notably large nose was discovered in Utah by a scientist now working as a paleontology laboratory coordinator at Ohio University.

Eric Lund was part of a team of scientists that unearthed the bones of the ancient beast at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah in 2006. During his time as a graduate student and lab manager at the University of Utah, Lund performed the fossil preparation on the specimen and wrote up the original description of the taxon.

Nasutoceratops. Image courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Utah.

The newly discovered dinosaur, belonging to the same family as the famous Triceratops, was announced Wednesday in the British scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Lead author on the paper is Scott Sampson of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, previously with the University of Utah and the Natural History Museum of Utah.  

Horned dinosaurs, or “ceratopsids,” were a group of big-bodied, four-footed herbivores that lived during the Late Cretaceous Period. As epitomized by Triceratops, most members of this group have huge skulls bearing a single horn over the nose, one horn over each eye, and an elongate, bony frill at the rear. The newly discovered species, Nasutoceratops titusi, possesses several unique features, including an oversized nose relative to other members of the family, and exceptionally long, curving, forward-oriented horns over the eyes.  

Nasutoceratops is a wondrous example of just how much more we have to learn about with world of dinosaurs,” Lund said. “Many more exciting fossils await discovery in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.”
Eric Lund works with the skull of the new discovery. Photo courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Utah.

Lund joined Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2011 as paleontology laboratory coordinator for Patrick O’Connor, professor of biomedical sciences. Lund currently is leading a new study on another new ceratopsian collected a few years ago in Utah, O’Connor said. This fall, he will begin work on a doctoral degree through Ohio University’s Individual Interdisciplinary Program.

The discovery of Nasutoceratops titusi has received international media coverage this week, including in Scientific American and Discover magazine and on National Public Radio and the BBC.

For more information about the finding, visit the Natural History Museum of Utah.