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NHMU dinosaur stars in Jurassic World Dominion – @theU

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The jurassic park The film franchise contains a bewildering cornucopia of dinosaur species, both real and imagined. His last opus, Jurassic World Dominion, is no exception, with a host of new beasts to thrill and scare us in equal measure. And, it turns out that a starring dinosaur newcomer (don’t worry, no spoilers here) has a special connection to the Natural History Museum of Utah!

One of the most striking dinosaurs to appear in Jurassic World Dominion is the horned dinosaur Nasutoceratops titusi. With its large curved frontal horns, this Triceratops cousin is reminiscent of Texas longhorn cattle. Brought to life in the movie by CGI magic, this animal was actually a real species that lived around 76 million years ago, not in Texas, but right here in Utah.

Nasutoceratops is unique to our state, having only been found in rocks of the Kaiparowits Formation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Moreover, the only original fossils of this species are here in the collections of NHMU. A single definitive skull of Nasutoceratops has never been discovered, along with two other fragmentary specimens which may belong to the same species. You can see the reconstructed skull on the famous NHMU ceratopsian wall.

Beyond his newfound fame on the big screen and his unique Utah provenance, what makes Nasutoceratops special? On the one hand, it is part of an ancient ecosystem that teamed up with a remarkable diversity of horned dinosaurs; there are at least five different species of ceratopsids that coexist in the Kaiparowits Formation, whereas most Late Cretaceous North American fossil deposits only preserve 2–3 species. The shape of the skull Nasutoceratops is also notable when compared to its closest relatives within the subgroup of horned dinosaurs called centrosaurines. Most of these species have short brow horns, larger nasal horns, and frills with large tips and protuberances. In contrast, Nasutoceratopshas long brow horns, barely a bump for a nose horn, and only modest ornamentation on its frill. So Nasutoceratopswould have definitely stood out at the family reunion!

You can learn more about Nasutoceratops titusi and its cousins ​​with NHMU’s new ResearchQuest survey, Triceratops Features. And, we encourage you to come visit NHMU in person to see a whole herd of horned dinosaur fossils in our Past Worlds exhibition. Finally, stay tuned here on the NHMU blog for more about other horned dinosaur discoveries by NHMU paleontologists!

This story was republished from NHMU Blog.

Randall Irmis is curator of paleontology and chief curator at the Utah Museum of Natural History, part of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Our mission is to illuminate the natural world and man’s place within it. In addition to housing exceptional exhibits for the public, NHMU is a research museum. Learn more.

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