A new dinosaur species, one of the oldest known members of the Ceratopsidae family of large-bodied horned dinosaurs which includes Triceratops, has been found in Canada.
The Wendiceratops pinhornensis lived about 79 million years ago, was about 6 metres long and weighed more than a tonne.
The find has been announced in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by David Evans from the Royal Ontario Museum and Michael Ryan from Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
The dinosaur is described from over 200 bones representing the remains of at least four individuals, three adults and one juvenile, collected from a bonebed in southern Alberta, Canada.
“Wendiceratops helps us understand the early evolution of skull ornamentation in an iconic group of dinosaurs characterised by their horned faces,” says Dr Evans.
“The wide frill of Wendiceratops is ringed by numerous curled horns, the nose had a large, upright horn, and it’s likely there were horns over the eyes too. The number of gnarly frill projections and horns makes it one of the most striking horned dinosaurs ever found.”
The name Wendiceratops means “Wendy’s horned-face” after Alberta fossil hunter Wendy Sloboda who found the site in 2010.
“Wendy Sloboda has a sixth sense for discovering important fossils. She is easily one of the very best dinosaur hunters in the world,” says Evans.
This dinosaur is the latest in a series of finds by Evans and Ryan as part of their Southern Alberta Dinosaur Project, designed to fill in gaps in knowledge of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs in North America
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