Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis: Colville River Grazer, Duck-Billed Hadrosaur

by DerdriuMarriner

Pat Druckenmiller, Greg Erickson and Hirotsugu Mori call Alaska’s dinosaur find Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis, Colviller River grazer and duck-billed hadrosaur.

Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis is the northernmost dinosaur ever taxonomized

Drs Pat Druckenmiller, Greg Erickson, and Hirotsugu Mori are the authors in 2015 of an article on Alaska’s dinosaur find for the September 22nd issue of Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. They thereby bring to worldwide notice Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis, the ancient Colville River grazer -- when translated from the Inupiat Eskimo language Inupiaq to English -- and an extinct duck-billed hadrosaur. Their discovery counts among the most revelatory insights into prehistorical animal adaptation to extreme geographies and severe weathers during the Blue Planet’s Upper Cretaceous Age 70,000,000 years ago.
So amateurs, expert, and newbie paleontologists now describe dinosaurs as:

• cold-adapted, snow-tolerant denizens of cool, vegetated Arctic and sub-Arctic bio-geographies;
• heat-insensitive, humidity-tolerant residents of lush, warm equatorial and temperate eco-systems.




Artistic rendering of Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum engaged in head-butting/pushing behavior: along with Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis, one of four Alaska-endemic dinosaurs ~

illustration by international wildlife and natural history artist Karen Carr
Anthony R. Fiorillo and Ronald S. Tykosk, An Immature Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum, Figure 1, PLoS ONE 19 June 2013
Anthony R. Fiorillo and Ronald S. Tykosk, An Immature Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum, Figure 1, PLoS ONE 19 June 2013

Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis juggles dinosaur looks in unexpected homelands


The 6,000+ Colville River grazer skeletal remains emerge as:

  • few adults and many juveniles in north Alaska’s Prince Creek geological formation on the Brooks Range’s north side;
  • one of four Alaska-endemic dinosaurs with Alaskacephale gangloffi (Roland Gangloff’s Alaskan headbanger), Nanuqsaurus hoglundi (Forrest Hoglund’s polar bear lizard), and Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum (Ross and Margot Perot’s thick-nosed lizard).

They furnish physical addresses of:

  • 100 miles (160.93 kilometers) south of the Arctic Ocean;
  • 300 miles (482.80 kilometers) north of Fairbanks.

They therefore get funereal honors with other remains preserved in the 2- to 3-foot-thick (0.61- to 0.91-meter-thick) Liscomb bonebed.

Their graveyard honors Robert L. Liscomb, Shell Oil Company geologist and mapper discovering in 1961 Alaska’s red-brown, uncrushed, undistorted, unmineralized dinosaur bones. 


Liscomb Bonebed outcrops for over 200 feet at base of bluffs of Alaska's Cretaceous Prince Creek Formation

"A paleontologist searches for dinosaur bones."
"A paleontologist searches for dinosaur bones."

Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis keeps cold niches, dark habitats year-round


Scientific procedure is dynamic because of its commitment to examination and re-examination, interpretation and re-interpretation. For example, scientists traditionally judge Alaska as inhospitable to dinosaur life cycles and natural histories because of:

  • cold;
  • snow;
  • 24-7 darkness six months annually.

But they now know of temperatures 10°F (12°C) higher and vegetation arboreally denser than nowadays sufficing to support dinosaurs year-round 70,000,000 years ago. The scientific method indeed leads paleontologists and zoologists to re-examine in the 1980s two decades of Liscomb specimens crated and misidentified as mammalian.

It makes Alaskan history with the subsequent recognition of:

  • Colville River grazer similarities to Edmontosaurus species of Alberta, Montana, South Dakota;
  • hadrosaurid (thick lizard) predominance among dinosaur specimens;
  • non-nomadic, permanent dinosaur presences. 


Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis in habitat:

illustration by James Havens, Bangor, Maine-born and now Anchorage, Alaska-based
illustration by James Havens
illustration by James Havens

Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis lives within the prehistoric Arctic Circle


Eye, mouth and skull configurations necessitate separate genus/species status for Edmontosaurus annectens and Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis. Colville River grazers otherwise offer recognizably crestless duck-billed hadrosaurid behaviors and physiques of:

  • Godzilla-like plate-covered spines;
  • mega-chicken footprint-like tracks;
  • 3-foot-long (0.91-meter-long) juvenile hip-heights;
  • 9-foot-long (2.74-meter-long) juvenile head-body lengths;
  • 30-foot-long (9.1-meter-long) mature head-tail lengths;
  • 1,400-toothed mouths for coarse vegetation-eating;
  • two- and four-legged mobility.

Niching in 41 to 43°F (5 to 6.11°C) annual mean-temperatured, snow-prone, wind-exposed eco-systems indeed provide culturally enriching, educationally entertaining, and geo-historically enthralling insights concerning:

  • birds, fish, small mammals, and 12+ more unidentified dinosaur genera/species in the oil-rich North Slope;
  • cold-blooded, sun-heated fauna (crocodiles, lizards, turtles) non-representation;
  • night-visioned, warm-blooded polar dinosaurs like Antarctica’s Cryolophosaurus ellioti and southeastern-most Australia’s Dinosaur Cove species.


Research Team Discovers 'Lost World' of Cold Weather Dinosaurs

Published on YouTube on September 22, 2015 by FloridaState ~ URL:



My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.


Left lateral view: Cranial reconstruction of Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis gen. et sp. nov. from early Maastrichtian Prince Creek Formation. Photograph (A) and bone interpretation (B).

Hirotsugu Mori et al., A new Arctic hadrosaurid from the Prince Creek Formation, Fig. 4
Hirotsugu Mori et al., A new Arctic hadrosaurid from the Prince Creek Formation, Fig. 4

Sources Consulted


Associated Press. 22 September 2015. “Researchers Say New Dinosaur Found in Northern Alaska. The Digital Universe > News. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @

Bednar, Chuck. 23 September 2015. “Scientists Identify New Hadrosaur Species Found in Alaska.” redOrbit > News > Science. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @

Campbell, Andy. 22 September 2015. Edited 24 September 2015. “A New Dinosaur Has Been Discovered – And He’s Hungry.” The Huffington Post > Huffpost Science. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @

Casey, Michael. 22 September 2015. “New Dinosaur Species May Have Left Tracks in the Snow.” CBS News > SciTech. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @

De Pastino, Blake, 25 September 2015. “Northernmost Dinosaur Discovered in ‘Lost World’ of Animal

Dunham, Mike. 22 September 2015. “Scientists Identify Dinosaur That Roamed the Alaska Arctic.” Alaska Dispatch News > Science. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @

Eberth, David A.; and Evans, David C. (Eds.). 2014. Hadrosaurs. Bloomington, IN, U.S.A.: Indiana University Press.

“Expedition Alaska: Dinosaurs.” University of Alaska Museum of the North > Exhibits & Digital Media > Special Exhibits. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @

Fossils in Alaska.” Western Digs > Dinosaurs & Ancient Life > Dinosaurs. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @

“Frozen, Unfossilized Dinosaur Bones.” Genesis Park > Exhibits > Evidence > Paleontological. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @

Gallagher, Danny. 22 September 2015. “Newly Discovered Hadrosaur Dino Was One Serious, Cold-Winter Survivor.” CNET Magazine. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @

Joling, Dan. 22 September 2015. “Fossils of New Duck-billed, Plant-eating Dinosaur Species Found in Alaska, Researchers Say.” U.S. News & World Report > News > Science. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @

Mori, Hirotsugu; Druckenmiller, Patrick S.; and Erickson, Gregory M. 22 September 2015. “A New Arctic Hadrosaurid from the Prince Creek Formation (Lower Maastrichtian) of Northern Alaska.” Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. doi: 10.4202/app.00152.2015

Taipan. 23 September 2015. “Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis.” Carnivoraform > Carnivora > Zoology > Dinnosaruai > Dinosauria Species Profiles. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @

“Ugrunaaluk kuukpikensis: New Duck-Billed Dinosaur Species Discovered in Alaska.” Sci-News > Paleontology > Science > September 22, 2015. Retrieved September 29, 2015. Available @

Winsor, Morgan. 22 September 2015. “What is Ubrunaaluk Kuukpikensis? New Dinosaur Species Discovered in Alaska Thrived in Polar Climate, Researchers Say.” International Business Times > Technology > Science. Retrieved September 29, 2015.

  • Available @


Prince Creek Formation bluffs: viewed north and down northern Alaska's Colville River

northern Alaska's dinosaur country
northern Alaska's dinosaur country
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

Hadrosaurs (Life of the Past) by David A. Eberth and David C. Evans ~ Available now via Amazon

Presents results of international symposium, sponsored by Royal Tyrrell Museum and Royal Ontario Museum, on Hadrosaurs, duck-billed dinosaurs with perfect teeth for shredding and chewing plants and complex, unique jaws.
hadrosaur writings

Hadrosaurs Graze Peacefully as Burning Meteors Fall Through the Sky: Available as Giant Art Print ~ Available now via AllPosters

illustration by Mark Stevenson
Hadrosaurs Graze Peacefully as Burning Meteors Fall Through the Sky

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 09/29/2015, DerdriuMarriner
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


DerdriuMarriner on 10/01/2015

blackspanielgallery, Me too, I value what continues from the past and regret what falls through the cracks.

blackspanielgallery on 10/01/2015

I find looking into the past fascinating.

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