BOLLINGER COUNTY, MO — A group of scientists discovered a new dinosaur species earlier this week in southern Missouri, and many researchers believe it will lead to a hotbed of new dinosaur unearthings in the same area.
The duck-billed dinosaur, called Parrosaurus missouriensis, grew to about 35 feet in length, weighed between two to three tons and had over 1,000 teeth. Researchers have been finding bones at the site for about 80 years but finally have enough evidence to indicate a new undiscovered species.
It lived during the Cretaceous period between 92 and 96 million years ago and is one of several new species of dinosaurs discovered this year. In June and August, new species of dinosaurs were discovered in Australia and China, respectively.
The newly discovered fossils were sent to Sainte Genevieve Museum Learning Center to be examined further and the excavation site is closed while scientists secure it.
“I can’t imagine anything that’s more impressive than what we discovered here,” Paleontologist Guy Darrough told Fox2Now. “A new genus in species. It’s [a] world-famous discovery.”
The site where the plant-eating dinosaur remains were found is the only place in Missouri where fossils have been discovered. For many years after its initial discovery, the new species had been misidentified as a long-necked dinosaur that had already been discovered.
Peter Makovicky, a professor of Earth and environmental sciences at the University of Minnesota, described the potential for future species to be found at the site to KSDK.
“We actually have something that’s probably a mass death locality, where we have a herd of dinosaurs dying and being sort of buried together, and individuals of different ages,” Makovicky said. “We can start looking at how these dinosaurs grew, and start to understand a little bit about their biology and their possible herd structure. And that’s unique for a site east of the Great Plains. Most of what we know about the North American dinosaur comes from out west.”
The next stop for Parrosaurus missouriensis is the Field Museum in Chicago for further research and tests.