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Arizona Museum of Natural History volunteers help unearth 'new' dinosaur

The newly discovered dinosaur is dubbed Ornatops. Scientists say it means “enchanted ornate face.”

PHOENIX — Volunteers working with the Arizona Museum of Natural History helped uncover a dinosaur believed to have roamed the earth 80 million years ago.

The newly discovered dinosaur has been dubbed Ornatops. Scientists said it means “enchanted ornate face,” which derives from the crest shape sported on the bridge of its nose.

But Andrew McDonald, the curator at the Western Science Center in California, said the dinosaur's size was equally as impressive. The Ornatops is currently being held at the Western Science Center.

“It was probably around 25 feet long. So probably one of the largest dinosaurs in its habitat, 80 million years ago,” said McDonald. 

“And it would have probably looked something like, if you can imagine, something like a big Clydesdale (horse).” 

This estimation would have made the Ornatops one of the largest dinosaurs in its habitat, according to experts. It was a also a plant eater, experts claim.

The discovery goes a long way in helping us better understand the ecosystem that existed tens of millions of years ago. 

The volunteer-scientists who helped come across the Ornatops said they were incredibly excited to make the discovery. 

“I remember trying to temper my enthusiasm,” said Sherman Mohler, a foundation board member of the Arizona Museum of Natural History and president of Southwest Paleontological Society.

"A lot of time these things peter out. ...[Because] I’m not the expert, I took a deep breath. And Derek rolled his ankle because I sent him running.” 

“I was so excited that I ran off the hill and nearly broke my ankle,” said Derek Hoffman, laughing. Hoffman, who is a member of the Southwest Paleontological Society, also helped make the discovery.

If you want to help the Arizona Museum of Natural History make the next big discovery, you can volunteer by going to http://swpaleosociety.com/

“One of the really coolest things is having like three generations of people out in the field. Students, mom, grandad, and they are all doing something very different,” said paleontologist Douglas Wolfe. 

“Whether its holding the end of a measuring tape or cooking or carrying water or helping put shade together, it’s just a lot of work. And it’s just a lot more fun with a lot of people. It really can't be done by one individual.”


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