Paleontologists may have gained more research to conduct, as a possible new species of dinosaur uncovered in Montana has given them ample reasons to believe the extinct animal has never been discovered before.
- The bones were discovered in Montana, in 2012
- It’s believed to belong to a new species similar to the Avaceratops
- The crew needed two summers to dig out the 200 bones
- They found approximately 85% of the dinosaur’s structure, plus soft tissue
- It took three years to reconstruct and it’s now up for display
Found in the Judith River Formation by field crews from Triebold Paleontology, the potentially new species of dinosaur was estimated to be around 75 million years old, and quite similar to the well known Avaceratops (a relative to the triceratops). However, the astounding condition of its bones, and even a sample of mummified soft tissue from its hip, has led researchers to believe there are too many differences to count it among an already discovered species.
According to Anthony Maltese, curator at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center, it’s quite a “wild looking animal”, with sharp horns on the side of its cheeks, and unusual spikes around the frills for a relatively tiny dinosaur of its age. However, it’s missing the trademark horn on its nose that was attributed to its relatives.
Now nicknamed “Ava” due to its similarities to the Avaceratops, the unique-looking dinosaur is said to have been between 3 and 4 years old at the time of its death and perfect preservation from Campanian stage of the late Cretaceous era. She stands at 11.5 feet in length and is comparable to the size of a pony, which makes her more of a cute-looking display than a terrifying sight.
Ava was discovered in 2012, and has been reconstructed due to the excellent amount of well preserved bones and the advancement of technology in record time. It took extensive search, and 3 years of 3D reconstruction, which would have taken an estimated of 10 years without today’s incredible tools.
According to Maltese, they were able to discover around 200 bones, which amounted for around 85% of the baby dinosaur that allowed them to construct an accurate depiction of the extinct animal. The curator has stated that anything above 50% of a skeleton is good, so the discovery was undoubtedly “spectacular”.
Not to mention the possibility of Ava being one of the gems among the many fossils that brings a whole other species to the existing list of dinosaurs.
Around 80% of the skull was recovered and reconstructed, and the missing nose horn has been checked with “the best ceratopsian in the world” in order to make sure that it is indeed a previously unknown species.
Ava will be on display at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Research Center until October 9th, and will then be moved to a travelling exhibit for more people to visit.
Image source: thedenverchannel.com