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An incredible new species of armoured dinosaur that stood around 3.5 ft (one metre) tall and 13 ft (four metres) long has been discovered by archaeologists in Utah.
The herbivore, which was discovered in the desert, is believed to have walked across a land bridge that connected Asia to North America around 76 million years ago.
Species - Example - Dinosaur - Late - Cretaceous
The newly-discovered species is the oldest example of an armoured dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period ever to be found in western North America.
It is also the most complete skeleton of an ankylosaurid, a family of armoured dinosaurs, that has been found in the southwestern US, experts say.
Researchers - University - Utah - Creature - Desert
Researchers from the University of Utah unearthed the creature from the desert at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Kane County, Utah. It will now take pride of place in the Natural History Museum of Utah.
The newly-discovered species does not resemble the other North American ankylosaurids, but instead is much closer to an Asian species, which had protective spiky armour covering its skull and snout.
Ankylosaurids - Spikes - Skulls - Armour - Counterparts
Asian ankylosaurids had more pronounced spikes covering their skulls, compared with the smooth-boned armour of their American counterparts.
Although ankylosaurids originated in Asia between 125 to 100 million years ago, the family of armoured dinosaurs did not appear in western North American until around 77 million years ago.
Scientists - Sea - Levels - Time - Dinosaurs
Scientists believe lowered sea levels at that time may have allowed dinosaurs in Asia to walk over a land bridge and immigrate to North America.
Dr Randall Irmis, co-author of the study said: 'A reasonable hypothesis would be that ankylosaurids from Utah are related to those found elsewhere in western North America, so we were really surprised to discover that Akainacephalus was so closely related to species from Asia.'
Skeleton - Skull - Column - Bony - Club
The new skeleton includes a complete skull, most of the vertebral column, a large bony club at the end of...
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