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Hadrosaur (Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis) (Image 5)

Working a fossil site in the Liscomb Bone Bed in northern Alaska


Gregory Erickson, a researcher from Florida State University who specializes in the use of bone and tooth histology to interpret the paleobiology of dinosaurs, works a fossil site in the Liscomb Bone Bed in northern Alaska. The bones of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis, a newly described species of hadrosaur, were found here.

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Researchers working with specimens at the University of Alaska (UA) Museum of the North described the new species in the international quarterly journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

U. kuukpikensis (pronounced "oo-GREW-na-luck KOOK-pik-en-sis") once roamed the North Slope of Alaska in herds, living in darkness for months at a time and probably experiencing snow. They grew up to 30 feet long and were superb chewers with hundreds of individual teeth well suited for eating coarse vegetation.

The majority of the bones used in the study came from the Liscomb Bone Bed, a fossil-rich layer along the Colville River in the Prince Creek Formation, a unit of rock deposited on the Arctic flood plain about 69 million years ago.

"Today we find these animals in polar latitudes," says Pat Druckenmiller, an Earth sciences curator at UA Museum of the North. "Amazingly, they lived even farther north during the Cretaceous Period. These were the northern-most dinosaurs to have lived during the Age of Dinosaurs. They were truly polar."

The research was supported in part by National Science Foundation grant EAR 12-26730.

To learn more, see the UA Fairbanks news story New dinosaur species discovered on Alaskas North Slope. (Date image taken: 2013-2014; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Nov. 23, 2015) [Image 5 of 11 related images. See Image 6.]

Credit: Pat Druckenmiller, University of Alaska Museum of the North
 
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