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New Dinosaur Discovered In Arizona

There’s a new dinosaur on the block, although its name is a bit of a mouthful.

"So it’s Crittendenceratops, and then the species name is simple really, don’t look at the way its written. Just say krzyzanowskii," said Spencer Lucas. He’s the curator of paleontology at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History.

Crittendenceratops krzyzanowskii doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But what kind of dinosaur is it?

"It’s a type of horned dinosaur — like the kid-favorite triceratops," said Lucas. "Its name comes from citizen scientist and amateur paleontologist Stan Krzyzanowski. He discovered the first fossil of this new dinosaur back in the '90s, but it wasn’t until now that it was identified as a new dinosaur species that, so far, is only found in Arizona in an area south of Tucson."

Why did it take so long to figure out it was a brand new dinosaur? Lucas says we didn’t have enough knowledge about horned dinosaurs back in the 1990s to really know.

This dinosaur is a smaller cousin of the triceratops, and while we only have parts of two different skulls, Lucas says paleontologists think it must have looked similar. It was probably about 11 feet long and weighed less than a ton.

"The biggest thing that is distinctive about the dinosaur is the head shield; we call it the frill. You know it's that big sort of plate of bone that goes over the neck and all that. And on the head shield of Crittendenceratops you have little horns that are kind of wrapped down, and then you have big openings for the muscles that were attached to the neck and even to the jaws. So that feature that construction of the frill is unique among all the horned dinosaurs The horns, of course, are not that big. They're kind of curved down.”

Even though Lucas says this is a smaller horned dinosaur, you probably wouldn't want to run into one.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been modified to correct the name of Stan Krzyzanowski.

Kaely Monahan joined KJZZ Original Productions as a producer in December 2016.Monahan is a native, and growing up in the East Valley gave her an intimate familiarity with the Valley of the Sun. Eager to experience a new city, she left Phoenix for Tucson to earn her degree in classical studies from the University of Arizona with an emphasis in mythology. Several years later, her focus transitioned from history to history-in-the-making and news. Monahan went on to earn her master’s degree in international journalism from City University of London.In London, Monahan worked with CBS News and The Times covering international news. On her return to Arizona, Monahan was the art and entertainment editor for the East Valley Tribune, before moving into broadcasting, where she worked in commercial radio as an anchor and reporter.Outside of work, Monahan spends her time reading historical novels, exploring new restaurants in the Valley, and watching movies. Her love of film led her to create a movie review podcast and website. Monahan is also the vice president of the Phoenix Critics Circle.