Dinosaur Evolution: Baby Dinosaur 'Chasmosaurus' From Late Cretaceous Provides New Data

First Posted: Jan 14, 2016 02:11 PM EST

One of the world's oldest babies, a juvenile Chasmosaurus, one of the rarest dinosaur discoveries, is shedding new light on the evolution of the dinosaurs, according to a study at the University of Alberta. The 75-million-year-old dinosaur was discovered in 2010 at the Dinosaur Provincial Park in Canada.

"For the first time ever, we have a complete skeleton of a baby ceratopsid," Philip Currie, coauthor of the study, said in a news release. "We've only had a few isolated bones before to give us an idea of what these animals should look like as youngsters, but we've never had anything to connect all the pieces. All you need is one specimen that ties them all together. Now we have it!"

The discovery of the baby Chasmosaurus could enable researchers to fill in the gaps in the evolution of other types of horned dinosaur, like Triceratops for instance. The researchers can now examine different body proportions for the Chasmosaurus as it grew. In addition, the specimen could also be compared to other dinosaur specimens of the same species, where body size, weight and dimension can be measure, according to Currie. The baby Chasmosaurus fossil could enable researchers to carry out numerous paleoecological studies on the growth, population and physiology of dinosaur species.

"Over the next few years, I will assign different parts of the body to different students who will then focus on growth changes and their implications within ceratopsids," Currie said.

The researchers plan to study the Chasmosaurus's brain through an advanced CT scanning in Japan, where the specimen will be on display

The findings of this study were published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

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