Triceratops was a cool dinosaur, but the recently discovered xenocerotops is even cooler. Xenocerotops was so named upon its discovery because of its badass arrangement of facial horns that makes it look like something out of sci-fi.
The discovery is based on remains from at least three adult-sized individuals, which were identified from fossils originally collected in 1958. The creatures would have been approximately six meters long and would have weighed more than two metric tons each.
The xenoceratops was a herbivore with a parrot-like beak, two long brow horns above its eyes and a large frill protruding from the back of its skull with two additional large spikes. It lived around 80 million years ago, making it one of the oldest ceratopsids, the group of large-bodied horned dinosaurs that includes triceratops.
David Evans from the Royal Ontario Museum and University of Toronto said: “Xenoceratops provides new information on the early evolution of ceratopsids. The early fossil record of ceratopsids remains scant, and this discovery highlights just how much more there is to learn about the origin of this diverse group.”
Evans and his colleague Michael Ryan stumbled upon the undescribed material more than a decade ago and recognized the bones as a new type of horned dinosaur. Evans later discovered a 50-year-old plaster field jacket—fossils that have been covered in bandages and plaster to protect them while they are dug out—at the Canadian Museum of Nature. This contained more skull bones from the same fossil area, so Evans prepared them in his lab.
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