News & Opinion | July 28, 2018 5:00 am

Armored Dinosaur Found in National Monument in Utah

The species lived more than 75 million years ago.

Grand Staircase National Monument in Utah. (Getty Images)
Getty Images

A plant-eating armored dinosaur lived and died on a lost continent called Laramidia more than 75 million years ago. Now, its remains have been found in southern Utah in one of the national monuments that the Trump administration is attempting to shrink.

Paleontologists named a new ankylosaurid species, Akainacephalus johnsoni, from fossils — including the animal’s skull and parts of its skeleton and club tail — found in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The dinosaur’s most distinctive feature is the bony knobs that dot its skull that kind of resemble pyramids.

The find draws attention to the rich fossil record in southern Utah’s national monuments. The area containing Akainacephalus is currently the center of a tug-of-war between paleontologists and mining interests, writes National Geographic. It contains both rich fossil beds and some 62 billion tons of coal. Scientists worry that the fossils could be destroyed if the land falls under a less restrictive form of management.