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New Dinosaur With Bizzarely Large Nose Discovered 10 Years After Its Bones Were Found

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A new species of dinosaur with an unusually large nose has been discovered decades after its bones were excavated.

Scientists have named the ancient reptile Brighstoneus simmondsi, believed to be from the Lower Cretaceous period, about 125 million years ago. The genus Brighstoneous was named after Brighstone, an English town close to the excavation site. Simmondsi is a nod to amateur collector Keith Simmonds, who found the specimens.

Some of the most salient features that mark Brighstoneus as a new species are in the dinosaur’s skull. “An obvious difference that distinguishes Brighstoneus is the bulbous nose,” says Jeremy Lockwood at the University of Portsmouth, UK

The dinosaur lived about 4 million years earlier than a related animal, called Mantellisaurus, that has also been found in the same area.

“Palaeontology definitely went through a lumping period, where everything vaguely similar to Iguanodon got assigned to that dinosaur,” says Karen Poole at the New York Institute of Technology. Brighstoneus, however, truly does appear to be new and indicates that there were many more iguanodonts than previously known.

Some of the features of the bones, such as the jawline, are unique to Brighstoneus, said Matthew McCurry, curator of paleontology at Sydney's Australian Museum and senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales, who was not involved in the study.

The longer jaw was able to hold 28 teeth, a few more than any other closely related species, McCurry said.

Lockwood is interested in researching if dinosaur diversity fluctuated over time or if it stayed the same over the course of 1 million years. Dinosaur bones can also reveal what Earth was like millions of years ago, McCurry said.