Friday, 10 July 2015

New ‘Wendy’ triceratops had curled horns, wide frill

July 9, 2015

Chuck Bednar for – @BednarChuck

Researchers from the Royal Ontario Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History have identified an unusual new species of dinosaur that had an elaborately-adorned skull and distinctive forward-curling hook-like horns along its wide, shield-like frill.

The creature, which is described in the latest edition of the journal PLOS One, has been named Wendiceratops pinhornensis or “Wendy’s horned-face” in honor of Wendy Sloboda, a Canadian fossil hunter who originally discovered the site where the fossils were located in 2010.

Wendiceratops pinhornensis was a 20-foot (six meter) long dinosaur that weighed more than a ton. It lived approximately 79 million years ago, making it one of the oldest known members of the horned-dinosaur family of which the Triceratops is a member, the Ceratopsidae.

More than 200 bones representing the remains of at least three adults and one juvenile member of the species were discovered in a bonebed in the Oldman Formation of southern Alberta, near the province’s border with Montana. The new dinosaur was an herbivore which would consume low-lying plants using its parrot-like beak and leaf-shaped teeth, the authors said.

Earliest documented tall nose horn in this dinosaur family

According to Discovery News, study co-author Dr. David Evans of the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto said in a statement that Wendiceratops “helps us understand the early evolution of skull ornamentation” in this “iconic group” of horned-face dinosaurs.

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