This is the first post in a series of articles discussing all of the wonderful dinosaurs found in the state of Utah. If you are like me then you love the idea that dinosaurs at some point in time walked exactly where live! Personally I find it utterly astounding that these animals lived over 66 Million Years Ago, and some how they are still able to capture our imagination, whether young or old or where you hail from.
The first dinosaur I would like to talk about is the fairly recently named Utahceratops Gettyi. It was discovered in 2010 in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument near Kanab, Utah, and named by Dr. Scott Sampson. Pictured below is a Utahceratops specimen that The Jurassic Files took on their recent visit to the Natural History Museum of Utah.
The Utahceratops belongs to group of dinosaurs called the Ceratopsians. These dinosaurs are usually fairly easy to spot, with their giant bony neck frills and their long horns that protrude from above their eyes and on their nose. The most famous Ceratopsian would have to be the Triceratops made famous over the years in its duels with the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Utahceratops is estimated to be about 6.6 feet tall and around 23 ft. long. So basically it was around the size of a small to medium sized Elephant.
Utah in the Cretaceous period was very green and lush swampy area on the western continent of Laramidia. Laramidia stretched from modern day Alaska down to Mexico, this is why there are an abundance of fossils in Utah, the conditions were almost perfect to cause these animals to fossilize after they died.
The Utahceratops was not discovered alone, the dinosaur Kosmoceratops Richardsoni was discovered and named at the same time. Kosmoceratops actually garnered more attention than Utahceratops due to the amazing ornamentation that adorned its skull.
If you would like to see an amazing specimen of Utahceratops I would highly suggest a trip to the Natural History Museum of Utah. Here you will be able to see many Ceratopsians including Kosmoceratops and Utahceratops.