New York: Approximately 75 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period, there lived a gentle dinosaur species with a giant nose, shows a new study.
The newly-discovered dinosaur, named Rhinorex condrupus by paleontologists from the North Carolina State University and Brigham Young University, lived in what is now Utah in the US.
Rhinorex, which translates roughly into "King Nose", was a plant-eater and a close relative of other Cretaceous hadrosaurs like Parasaurolophus and Edmontosaurus, the findings showed.
Rhinorex lacked a crest on the top of its head -- instead, it had a huge nose.
"This discovery gives us a geographic snapshot of the Cretaceous. Rhinorex also helps us further fill in the hadrosaur family tree," said Terry Gates from North Carolina State University.
The researchers came across the fossil in storage at Brigham Young University.
First excavated in the 1990s from Utah's Neslen formation, Rhinorex had been studied primarily for its well-preserved skin impressions.
Based on the recovered bones, the researchers estimated that Rhinorex was about 30-feet-long and weighed over 3,855.5 kg.
"The purpose of such a big nose is still a mystery," Gates said.
"If this dinosaur is anything like its relatives then it likely did not have a super sense of smell -- but maybe the nose was used as a means of attracting mates, recognising members of its species, or even as a large attachment for a plant-smashing beak," Gates noted.
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