New ceratopsian dinosaur discovered in the USA

This video is called A tribute to triceratops: The largest ceratopsian! Music: Linkin Park – Numb.

From Montana State University in the USA:

A dinosaur skeleton found 24 years ago in Montana has finally been identified as a new species that links North American dinosaurs with Asian dinosaurs. The dinosaur would have weighed 30 to 40 pounds, walked on two feet and stood about three feet tall. The fossil came from sediment that’s about 80 million years old.

A paper on the finding was published in September’s issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, co-author Jack Horner said Friday after returning from Mongolia where he and his crew found 80 dinosaurs in a week. Horner is curator of paleontology at Montana State University’s Museum of the Rockies. The paper’s lead author was Brenda Chinnery, a former postdoctoral researcher with Horner.

Horner said he found the nearly-complete skeleton in 1983 near Choteau, in northwest Montana, but it was located in extremely hard rock and took a long time to prepare. He also had to wait about two decades before he found an expert who could identify it. That expert was Chinnery, who specializes in horned dinosaurs. Chinnery had worked for one of Horner’s colleagues at Johns Hopkins University and then came to MSU. She left MSU about two years ago and is now a paleontologist at the University of Texas.

“I knew it was probably a new dinosaur, but it took someone that really knew what they were doing to be able to describe it,” Horner said.

The dinosaur fossil has been stored in the Museum of the Rockies since its discovery, but it will be displayed this winter, Horner said. The skeleton has a reddish tinge because some of the original bone was replaced by jasper. It dates to the early part of the Late Cretaceous Period.

The dinosaur, nicknamed Cera, was named Cerasinops hodgskissi after landowner Wilson Hodgskiss. who gave him permission to collect the skeleton for the Museum of the Rockies, Horner said. The fossil was found about five miles south of Choteau, in a different area than the famed Egg Mountain site.

The C. hodgskissi is such a simple specimen that it’s hard to describe in terms of distinguishing characteristics, Horner said. Tests, however, showed that it represents a very primitive species that shares characteristics of Neo-ceratopsian dinosaurs in North America and Asia. Ceratopsian dinosaurs have horns, but these do not.

Horner said he was looking at even more primitive dinosaurs on his recent trip to Mongolia. His team collected more than 80 skeletons, with 70 of them coming from one site. Last year, they collected 67 skeletons at the same site. The Mongolian project is a joint research project between MSU and Mongolia’s Science and Technology University.

Eotriceratops xerinsularis: here.

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8 thoughts on “New ceratopsian dinosaur discovered in the USA

  1. Catastrophe Killed Dinosaur Herd, New Species Emerges

    By LiveScience Staff

    posted: 02 October 2008 11:22 am ET

    38 Comments | 5 Recommend

    A catastrophic event 72.5 million years ago left a herd of giant, horned dinosaurs buried to become fossils. Now scientists have identified the extinct creatures as a new species.

    The fossils, found in Northwest Alberta, Canada, revealed a herd of so-called ceratopsian dinosaurs that perished together. The animals are characterized by a bony frill on the back of the skull ornamented with smaller horns.

    Parts of at least 27 individual animals were recovered at the site.

    These dinosaurs also had large bony structures above their nose and eyes, which lends them their name: Pachyrhinosaurus (thick-nosed lizard). These structures probably supported horns of keratin, said researcher Philip Currie, Canada research chair of dinosaur paleobiology at the University of Alberta, who was involved in the excavations.

    The new species of Pachyrhinosaurus is closely related to Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis, which is known from younger rocks near Drumheller and Lethbridge in southern Alberta, Currie said. The newfound species is a smaller animal with many differences in the ornamental spikes and bumps on the skull.

    The adults of both species have massive bosses, or protuberances, of bone in the positions where other horned dinosaurs (like Centrosaurus and Triceratops) have horns. However, juveniles of the new species resemble juveniles of Centrosaurus in having horns rather than bosses.

    Northwest Alberta was not previously known for dinosaur material. In the 1970s, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta began to lead excavations and studies of the Pipestone Creek bone bed there. The naming of the new species, Pachyrhinosaur lakustai, honors Al Lakusta, a now retired science teacher in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

    “The density of the Pipestone Creek bonebed is exceptional and surpasses many of Alberta’s other ceratopsian bonebed sites,” Currie said. “The preservation of the material is outstanding and was easy to collect. The number of bones, from all age groups, made complex investigations possible regarding behavior and growth patterns.”

    The site contains fossils from young and old individuals, allowing researchers to describe individual variations and growth patterns, investigate the possibility of sexual dimorphism, and hypothesize on a herding lifestyle.

    With this new species, researchers will now have more data to give a better understanding of the ancient life and ecosystems in northwestern Alberta in the Cretaceous period, Currie said.

    The study of the Pachyrhinosaurs is detailed in a book, “A New Horned Dinosaur from an Upper Cretaceous Bone Bed in Alberta,” by Currie, Wann Langston, Jr. and Darren H. Tanke (NRC Press, 2008).

    “Ongoing cooperation between Grande Prairie Regional College, the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the University of Alberta has uncovered many additional sites and fossils in our region,” said Jack O’Toole, chair of the Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Project.

    Andrew Neuman, executive director of the Royal Tyrrell Museum, explained the importance of the Pipestone Creek site. “Working on a previously unknown site that is abundant in dinosaur material shows how rich the entire province of Alberta is in paleontological resources,” he said.


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