A new species of dinosaur unearthed in Mexico is giving scientists fresh insights into the ancient history of western North America, according to an international research team led by scientists from the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah.
“To date, the dinosaur record from Mexico has been sparse,” said Terry Gates, a paleontologist with the Utah Museum of Natural History, Utah’s designated natural history museum.
The new creature — aptly dubbed Velafrons coahuilensis — was a massive plant-eater belonging to a group of duck-billed dinosaurs, or hadrosaurs. “Velafrons is a combination of Latin and Spanish meaning “sailed forehead,” in reference to the large sail-like crest that grew atop the dinosaur’s head,” said Rosario Gomez, director of the paleontology program in Coahuila, Mexico. “The second part of the name honors the state of Coahuila in north-central Mexico, where the specimen was found,” said Gomez.
Utah Museum of Natural History paleontologists teamed up with researchers from the Utah Geological Survey; Coordinacion de Paleontologia, Secretaria de Educacion y Cultura de Coahuila the Museo del Desierto, in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico; and the Royal Tyrrell Museum, in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, to excavate and study the 72-million-year-old specimen. The species was announced in the December edition of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Very kewl. As time goes on I am sure that Mexico will contribute more and more fossils to our knowledge of Mesozoic Laurasia as America and Canada already have.