Meet the Moabosaurus utahensis, a 125-million-year-old dinosaur that Paleontologists discovered in the sands of Moab, Utah.It isn’t every day that scientists discover a new species of dinosaur, but today is one of those days. After decades of excavation, the Moabosaurus is finally on display at the BYU Museum of Paleontology. The new dinosaur has officially been named after the city where it was unearthed: Moab, Utah. Primarily known as a tourist town for off-roading and other outdoor activities, Moab is also prolific in paleontological discoveries. Today, tourists can visit a number of the area's now-closed dig sites, including areas where fossilized dinosaur tracks are still visible in the earth. However, the Dalton Wells Quarry probably won't be accepting tours anytime soon. The quarry – made famous for such discoveries as the Utahraptor and the Iguanodon ottingeri – has been studied by BYU paleontologists for decades. [caption id="attachment_13631" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Moabosaurus plays peekaboo in the BYU Museum of Paleontology[/caption] Bringham Young University Geology Professor Brooks Britt was the lead scientist on the Moabosaurus dig in the Dalton Wells Quarry. He discovered the first Moabosaurus bone in the late 1970s when he was a geology student at BYU. In the years since, Britt and his team excavated, classified, and assembled more than 5,500 bones from the dig site. Most of these bones belonged to the Moabosaurus. They estimated they have recovered fossils from at least 18 unique Moabosaurus, as well as fossils from yet-to-be-named dinosaurs. The new Moabosaurus is believed to be a close relative of the Brontosaurus, which is easily recognizable by its long neck and hefty body. Unlike the massive Brontosaurus, however, BYU's reconstructed Moabosaurus skeleton is just 10 meters long. Hundreds of millions of years ago, the Utah-Colorado border region was full of lush greenery. The herbivore Moabosaurus survived by eating this plant life. The dinosaur used its coarse teeth to bite leaves off of trees, but scientists believe that the Moabosaurus would swallow its food immediately without chewing it. You can't really blame the dinosaur for its poor table manners. After all, its brain was only the size of a Chinese egg roll.
Britt believes the Moabosaurus that he and his team excavated died off approximately 125 million years ago when a drought hit southeastern Utah.
During this drought, hundreds, if not thousands, of these animals died. The surviving animals walked along and crushed these bones, and that’s why only 3 percent of the bones that we collected at this quarry are actually complete.”Britt and and the BYU team have pored over these crushed and damaged fossils for decades. It took fossils collected from multiple specimens and years of reconstructive efforts to reach the point of displaying a complete Moabosaurus skeleton. The reconstructed dinosaur skeleton will remain on display at BYU for the foreseeable future. However, if you can’t find the exhibit, it isn’t your fault. The dinosaur’s placard hasn’t been changed yet to reflect its official naming. The placard still reads, "'Not yet named' (pronunciation: NOT-yet-NAIM-ed)."