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A team of paleontologists, including a University of Pennsylvania doctoral candidate, has described a new species of dinosaur based upon an incomplete skeleton found in western New Mexico. The new species, Jeyawati rugoculus, comes from rocks that preserve a swampy forest ecosystem that thrived near the shore of a vast inland sea 91 million years ago.
Although the fossil remains were discovered in 1996, it has only now been confirmed that the species is unique. Jeyawati is a member of an assemblage of dinosaurs and other animals unknown as recently as 15 years ago.
The partial skull and other fragments of Jeyawati were discovered by paleontologist Douglas Wolfe, principal investigator of the Zuni Basin Paleontological Project. Subsequent excavation and collection was carried out for 13 years with the aid of James Kirkland, state paleontologist with the Utah Geological Survey, and volunteers from the Southwest Paleontological Society, among others.