Scientists Discover A New Horned Dinosaur Related To The Triceratops

Paleontologists discovered a new horned dinosaur with a groundbreaking appearance.

According to the Los Angeles Times, in 2010, Canadian fossil hunter Wendy Sloboda came upon a dinosaur bone sticking out of a hill in the Pinhorn Provincial Grazing Reserve in Alberta, Canada.

After sharing her discovery, Sloboda and her colleagues from the Southern Alberta Dinosaur Research Project went on to unearth over 200 bones from four dinosaurs at the same site.

The new discovery, Wendiceratops pinhornensis, was named after Sloboda and the location where the fossils were found.

A Wendiceratops, believed to live 79 million years ago, weighed approximately one ton and was about 20-feet-long, ABC News reports.

It possessed at least two very different features that distinguish it from its cousin, the Triceratops.

For one, the sides and top of the dinosaur's cranium contained horns that curled inward like hooks.

University of Utah paleontologist Mark Loewen told the Los Angeles Times "no other dinosaur" had these horns, or bone protrusions.

Secondly, like the Triceratops, the Wendiceratops had a medium-sized horn protruding from its nose.

However, while the Triceratops' horn had a sharp point, the top of the Wendiceratops' horn is believed to have been blunt.

It's possible the Triceratops' pointed-tip horn became increasingly essential for survival.

Experts believe, much like big-horned sheep or modern birds, Wendiceratops used their horns to battle over females or to attract the opposite sex with their lavish arrays.

According to CBS News, paleontologist Andrew Farke said,

Wendiceratops is the oldest known horned dinosaur to have a big nose horn.

Sloboda celebrated her "legendary" finding by getting a tattoo of a Wendiceratops.

She said,

I've been saving a spot on my arm for if I ever get a dinosaur named after me.

The discovery of the Wendiceratops is detailed in the Public Library of Science.

Citations: Meet Wendiceratops a horned dinosaur unlike any other (The Los Angeles Times), Newly Discovered Wendiceratops Dinosaur Had Crown of Horns (ABC News)