There’s brand new kind dinosaur out there, and it lived in Alaska.Its bones, long turned to stone, are part of a cliff in northern Alaska. That’s where dinosaur-hunter Tony Fiorillo brushed dirt far from a little of its large skull, one thing that most of us would mistake for a rock.
The year was 2006. The month of August and summer had fled the Colville River, if it had been there at all. Dinosaur hunter Fiorillo, where he works at the Museum of Nature & Science, he visits Alaska each summer from Dallas, remembers climbing from his tent with a heavy head every morning.
On one wet, miserable day, Fiorillo was sticking to a hillside higher than the river; speak actually the soil gently with a trowel. Noticing an uncommon lump, he picked up a brush to softly whisk the dirt away. Suddenly, a complete skull came into focus, and he felt a warm flush of discovery. “When I had that moment of recognition, only (a large nasal bone) was exposed,” Fiorillo said. “But in my mind I could see the rest of the skull.”
Fiorillo was excited because he could tell the specimen was one of the rare ones intact enough to be displayed in a museum, and the Museum of Nature & Science in Dallas was then planning a new building. As he and his digging partners, including Paul McCarthy of the Geophysical Institute and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geology and Geophysics Department, unearthed the skull and coated it in plaster for a helicopter ride out, Fiorillo didn’t know they had found a species unknown to science.
The dinosaur, that lived in northern Alaska about seventy million years ago, is a plant eater with an enormous shielded head that looked something like a Triceratops, only without a horn extending from its nose. Its mouth resembled a giant parrot’s beak.