For Immediate Release
Contact Alicia Borrego Pierce 505-264-5464
DINOSAUR KNOBS, SPIKES, AND HORNS
Recent discoveries from Cretaceous New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM, October 15, 2012 - What is a knobby-headed dinosaur? Who discovered them? And when? If you want to know the answers to these questions, all you need to do is stop by and visit the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science on October 20, 2012 and find out!
The Bisti Badlands of the San Juan Basin have, for decades, proved to be a fossil hot bed. Many dinosaurs called this place home, including Nodocephalosaurus, Sphaerotholus and Ojoceratops.
Nodocephalosaurus, Sphaerotholus and Ojoceratops make their debut in Knobs, Spikes and Horns as part of Dinosaur Century: 100 Years of Discovery in New Mexico.
Dr. Robert Sullivan, a paleontology curator at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, spent more than 30 years doing field research in the Bisti. In those 30 years of research, he made discoveries of many important fossils. In 1995, he discovered the skull of a new kind of armored dinosaur. After four years of researching his discovery, he named it Nodocephalosaurus - the "knobby-headed dinosaur."
A cast of this skull is on permanent display in the upper level of the New Mexico’s Seacoast (Cretaceous) exhibit.
Pachycephalosaurs are dinosaurs with thick masses of bone on top their skulls. Generally rare, no pachycephalosaur fossils were known from New Mexico until 1998, when New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science research associate Paul Sealey discovered a domed skullcap in the Bisti.
Dr. Thomas Williamson, Paleontologist at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, and Carthage College paleontologist Thomas Carr described the fossil as a new kind of pachycephalosaur, which they named Sphaerotholus.
Fossils of ceratopsians (horned dinosaurs) are among the most common dinosaur fossils found in the Upper Cretaceous badlands of the San Juan Basin. The most famous of these dinosaurs is Pentaceratops, but for decades fragmentary fossils of another kind of ceratopsian were recovered. Paleontologists long identified these as Torosaurus, a three-horned dinosaur first described from Wyoming.
In 2004, Denver Fowler, a member of a field crew led by Sullivan, finally found diagnostic parts of the skull of this ceratopsian that revealed it was a new kind of horned dinosaur. In 2010, Sullivan collaborated with New Mexico Museum of Natural History paleontologist Dr. Spencer Lucas to name this new ceratopsian Ojoceratops fowleri.
Come see it all in Dinosaur Century: 100 Years of Discovery in New Mexico, only at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.