A team of researchers from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Ohio, and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, were able to piece together 200 bones from four different dinosaurs into one 20-foot-long cousin of triceratops, the Wendiceratops pinhornensis.
Unlike other triceratops, Wendiceratops has an additional horn on its head which makes it quite unique within the triceratop family, also known as The Ceratopsidae. The bones used by the scientists to form the first complete fossil of a Wendiceratops were unearthed at the Oldman Formation, in Alberta and really close to Montana border.
On June 8, researchers who discovered the fossils published a study about how the new type of dinosaur might have looked like in the journal PLOS One. Wendiceratops was named after the photographer and dinosaur expert Wendy Sloboda, who first discovered the remains of the dinosaur.
Wendiceratops is unique among other triceratops because of a large nasal horn “located close to the orbits”. It also has a couple of two other horns above its eyes. The trio of horns helped the ancient animal be more persuasive when negotiating with predators, researchers believe.
But Wendiceratops has other distinctive features as well. It is equipped with several hook-like horns which were curled forward along a wide frill that protected the back of its skull from predator surprise attacks.
Dr. Michael Ryan, a paleontologist from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and co-author of the study on the new species of dinosaurs, recently stated that the hook-like horns may also have helped the male dinosaurs fight each other over females and new territories.
Dr. David Evans from the Royal Ontario Museum and co-author of the recent study described the Wendiceratops as “one of the most striking horned dinosaurs ever found.” He also expressed his hopes that the new discovery would help paleontologists detect other horned members of the Ceratopsidae family and understand more about the types of “skull ornamentation” triceratops displayed.
But Wendiceratops is not the only species of triceratops recently found. Last month, scientists from the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta said that they had identified a new type of triceratops – called Regaliceratops peterhewsi, which also has three horns sticking out of its face and a string of curled horns on top of its skull.
Two years ago, researchers at the Natural History Museum of Utah found Nasutoceratops titusi, another triceratops, which distinguish itself through a large nose and the hook-like curled horns on his massive head.
Image Source: NBC News