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A dinosaur with a huge nose roamed Utah 75 million years ago, researchers at Brigham Young University say.
The Rhinorex condrupus, or "nose king," had a duck bill, according to scientists from BYU and North Carolina State University.
At least they think it did: Paleontologists can't tell for sure what the beast's nose looked like, but they know it had huge nasal openings, said Rodney Scheetz, curator of BYU's Museum of Paleontology. They also believe it ate only plants, lived in swamps and weighed slightly over four tons.
The creature's signature schnoz "helps us to understand the huge diversity of animals, even back millions of years ago," he said.
Researchers believe the beast's nose could have helped distinguish it and attract a mate. It also left behind a good fossil outline in Utah's Book Cliffs, which is rare, Scheetz said. Much of the animal's body is still obscured. There's more to look at, but scientists are trying to figure out how to remove rock without damaging the impression.
The study was published online Sept. 17 in the Journal of Systematic Paleontology. BYU announced the publication a week later.
Visitors can see the outline of the creature's body, but the skull is in North Carolina.
It was first found by a pair of geology students from California in the 1990s.