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Utah's red rocks - world-famous attractions at numerous national parks, monuments and state parks - have yielded a rare skeleton of a new species of plant-eating dinosaur that lived 185 million years ago and may have been buried alive by a collapsing sand dune. The discovery confirms the widespread success of sauropodomorph dinosaurs during the Early Jurassic Period.
Until now, Utah's red rocks were known only for a few scattered bones and dinosaur footprints. However, discovery of a remarkably preserved partial skeleton is being published in the March 24 edition of PLoS ONE, the online open-access journal produced by the Public Library of Science.
The study was conducted by Joseph Sertich, a former University of Utah master's student and current Stony Brook University Ph.D. student, and Mark Loewen, a paleontologist at the Utah Museum of Natural History and instructor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Utah.