Toronto, June 5 (IANS) Scientists have discovered a horned dinosaur with bizarre features – a close relative of the familiar Triceratops that had been unknown to science until now.
Triceratops, a three-horned, frilled ceratopsian dinosaur, lived late in the Mesozoic period.
Nicknamed ‘Hellboy’, what makes this new horned dinosaur distinctive is the size and shape of its facial horns and the shield-like frill at the back of the skull.
“The specimen comes from a geographic region of Alberta where we have not found horned dinosaurs before. So from the onset we knew it was important,” said Dr Caleb Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada.
“When the full anatomy was uncovered, we realised it was obviously a new species and an unexpected one.”
This new species – scientifically named Regaliceratops peterhewsi – is similar in many respects to Triceratops, except that its nose horn is taller and the two horns over its eyes are “almost comically small.”
But the new dinosaur’s most distinctive feature is that frill, including what Brown describes as a halo of large, pentagonal plates radiating outward, as well as a central spike.
“The combined result looks like a crown,” he said.
This discovery also suggests that there are likely more horned dinosaurs out there that “we just have not found yet, so we will also be looking for other new species.”
The study appeared in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.