Were Duck-Billed Dinosaurs Found in Alaska Warm Blooded?

In late September of this year a report was published on a new species of Hadrosaurid dinosaur (commonly and hereafter called duck-billed dinosaurs) dubbed Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis ("ancient grazer" in the language of Alaska Inupiat Eskimos). The newly discovered species is considered to be closely related to Edmontosaurus but has a few anatomical differences, especially in the skull, and most noticeably in the mouth area. The discovery, a cooperative effort between the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Florida State University, took place in the Liscomb Bone Bed of the Prince Creek Formation along the Colville River more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) northwest of Fairbanks. The findings were published in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, an international paleontology quarterly journal.

What Were the Findings?

The Liscomb Bone Bed in the Prince Creek Formation is composed of supposedly non-marine sandstones, conglomerates, coal and mudstone layers, along with some marginal marine deposits. It has been the subject of numerous paleontological digs since the 1980's and has yielded thousands of disarticulated (not connected to each other) bones of mostly juvenile duck-billed dinosaurs. Many of the bones were originally assigned to Edmontosaurus but recent analysis of skeletal features has proven that they belong to a different genus and species. Most of the bones are in excellent condition, showing little evidence of weathering, predation, crushing, or trampling. In addition, some adult duck-billed dinosaur bones and teeth, as well as some troodontid, thescelosaurid, and tyrannosaurid teeth have been found in the bonebed. Additionally, bones of birds, small mammals, and some fish have been found.

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