Giant Dinosaur Skull Casts go Head to Head this Summer with State of the Art Animatronics
This summer, the Natural History Museum of Utah will be sharing two of Utah’s newest dinosaur discoveries with thousands of visitors at Hogle Zoo. Beginning May 1, the enormous skull casts of Utahceratops gettyi (YOU-tah-sarah-tops GET-ee-eye) and Kosmoceratops richardsoni (KOZ-moe-sarah-tops RICH-ard-SOHN-eye) will be on display with more than 15 animatronic dinosaurs at Zoorassic Park 2. “The Museum is excited to once again partner with Hogle Zoo and to share the skulls of Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops with Zoo visitors,” said Museum Executive Director Sarah George. “These horned dinosaurs are two of the many new species excavated by Museum paleontologists in southern Utah since 2000.” Mark Loewen, one of the paleontologists involved in recent discoveries will be available for interviews and to answer questions about the skulls on opening day.
Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops, (“ceratops” is a Greek term meaning horned face), were unearthed in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Both were plant eaters, much like their Triceratops relative, only with larger heads, several spikes and more ornate horns. Researchers estimate Utahceratops stood about 6 feet tall, 18-22 feet long, weighing as much as 6,000-8,000 pounds. Kosmoceratops appears to have been slightly smaller, about 15 feet long, weighing 5,000 pounds.
Another multi-horned dinosaur unearthed in the Grand Staircase area, Diabloceratops eatoni (dee-OB-low-sarah-tops ee-TON-eye), roamed North America’s western landmass of Laramidia, a few million years before Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops. Today, these prehistoric remains are permanently housed at the Natural History Museum of Utah, and all three of these amazing skull casts can be seen in the Museum’s Past World’s Gallery, as part of one of the largest displays of horned dinosaurs in the world!
For a few months, however, Zoo visitors have the unique opportunity to see Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops skulls up close, nose-to-nose so to speak. Since they will be housed outdoors, just east of the new lion enclosure, the skull casts will be placed in special weather and hand-proof display cases to protect them during their temporary stay. Museum volunteers and staff will be on hand daily to answer visitor questions, share interesting facts and provide engaging hands-on experiences. An animatronic Diabloceratops may even be seen at this year’s Zoorassic Park 2.