Jaren Wilkey/BYU

The Moabosaurus had wide teeth, a long neck, and elephant-like limbs.

April 17, 2017

Paleontologists discovered the remains of a new species of dinosaur in Utah that roamed North America 125 million years ago.

Researchers from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah published their findings in University of Michigan’s Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology earlier this month.

Named the Moabosaurus for the city in Utah where it was discovered, this herbivore stood 32-feet-long with tall, elephant-like limbs and “broad, spatulate teeth,” lead author and BYU paleontologist Brooks Britt told Travel + Leisure.

Britt and his team sifted through some 5,500 bones collected at the Dalton Wells Quarry, near Arches National Park north of Moab, Utah in order to reconstruct a full skeleton of the species.

“You might find three or four vertebrae in a string here, or a limb there,” he said, adding, “They’re not articulated; they’re not found like they are in life.”

Many of these dinosaurs died during a drought, and their remains suffered heavy damage in the following years. Surviving animals would have trampled on their remains, causing bones to fracture before a mudflow transported the bones a short distance where they were again trampled and eaten by insects, according to Britt.

Jaren Wilkey/BYU

Britt and his team were able to deduce that the remains they had found were from a new species of dinosaur by comparing the bones with others they had from other sauropods — a class of long-necked, sturdy-legged dinosaurs that includes the Brontosaurus.

“It’s like some guy going to the junk yard and a guy who’s experienced, they can pick out which parts go to a Chevy or to a Ford,” he explained.

The reconstructed skeleton is on display at BYU’s Museum of Paleontology, where visitors can marvel at this new find.

“With the exception of some bones from the skull, we have almost every bone from this animal,” Britt said.

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