DALLAS — Paleontologists at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas are celebrating a major discovery — confirming the discovery of a new species of dinosaur.
Named Nanuqsaurus hoglundi, the dinosaur is described as a close cousin to the Tyrannosaurus rex.
"Any time that you get to realize that you are making a contribution to science by finding something brand new, it's a great day," said Dr. Anthony R. Fiorillo, the curator of earth sciences for the museum.
The fossils were discovered in 2006 while excavating Alaska's North Slope. The excavation site is located almost 400 miles northwest of Fairbanks north of the Arctic Circle.
"There were features in these specimens that were unique; you didn’t see them in other tyrannosaurs," said Dr. Ronald S. Tykoski, the man tasked with digging through six tons of rock brought in from the Arctic Circle region.
Tykoski and his team uncovered three distinct pieces of fossil — part of a lower jaw, part of a brain casing and part of the snout on the face. These three pieces were so distinct, they were able to determine it was from a whole new species.
"You're always trying to disprove what you're thinking, and then when you run out of ways to disprove it, you have to really accept that you have what you think you have," Fiorillo said.
The museum is working on a special exhibit highlighting the Nanuqsaurus during the run of its next big traveling exhibit, "World's Largest Dinosaurs," expected to open in April.