By Zack Wahl
September has been a busy month for paleontologists with the discovery of a brand new genus of theropod dinosaurs in Spain, known as the “Concavenator,” as well as the identification of two new species of ceratopsian dinosaurs in Utah. These findings are allowing Paleobiologists to see a whole new side to dinosaurs.
The discovery of a new genus of dinosaur is always a rare find, but the finding of the Concavenator is an especially significant occurrence. When paleontologists discovered the fossils of the dinosaur in central Spain, they were astonished by two never-before-seen anatomical features. The first, and most bizarre, was a hump on the dinosaur’s back at its last spinal vertebra. This feature was most likely used to store fat.
The second find was quill rods on the forearms of the dinosaur, indicating the presence of feathers. This discovery is significant because it means that the Concavenator is the largest dinosaur ever to be found with feathers. This two-legged, meat-eating dinosaur is defined in the class of the theropods, along with the Tyrannosaurus rex and some of the other largest carnivores of the time.
The two new species of ceratopsian dinosaur—a class of herbivorous, four-legged creatures from the Cretaceous period—have shown new morphologies for dinosaurs as well. The Kosmoceratops’ skull was found to contain fifteen different horns, compared to the Triceratops’ three. Not far from this amazing discovery, the Utahceratops was found to have a skull over two meters long, making it the largest ceratopsian ever discovered.
In this ‘age of infinite knowledge,’ it is amazing to see how new discoveries are still being made and how the scientific community continues to make such great finds, increasing our knowledge about the world and helping us to further understand even the dinosaurs.