Triceratops Ancestor Discovered, Head Adorned With 'Shield Of Bone' And 'Devil Horns'
The researchers have discovered dinosaur fossils 10 years ago. It belongs to "Judith," a spiky-headed ancestor triceratops, which trudged the American northwest over 65 million years ago.
Recently, the study reveals that "Judith" was much more important than previously thought. The researchers believe that she is a new species, which is called "Spiclypeus hipporum," with a head that is adorned with a spiky's shield of bone and with devil horns. These were probably used as part of a courtship display and mating, or to identify the members of the same species. They were able to recognize the species from not much bone fragments. These include parts of legs, skull, spine and hip.
Jordan Mallon, a paleontologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature and the first author of the study said that this is a spectacular new addition to the family of horned dinosaurs that roamed the western North America between 85 and 66 million years ago. He further said that it provides new evidence of dinosaur diversity during the Late Cretaceous period from an area that is likely to yield even more discoveries.
The dinosaur's pseudonym "Judith" is taken from the region where the fossilized bones were discovered. It is in the Judith River rock formation in Montana. Likewise, the Latin name "shipporum" derived from the family, headed by Dr.Bill Shipp, a retired nuclear physicist and an amateur fossil hunter, on whose land the fossils were found. He said that little did I know that the first time he went fossil hunting he would stumble on a new species.
He added that as a scientist, he was really pleased that the Canadian Museum of Nature has documented the dinosaur's value and that it can now gain access by researchers around the world as part of the museum's fossil collections, according to Daily Mail.