Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Photo of the Day: Two New Species of Horned Dinosaur

Scientists discovered two new species of horned dinosaur and the two new horned dinosaurs have been named based on fossils collected from Alberta, Canada. Two new horned dinosaurs are called Unescoceratops koppelhusae and Gryphoceratops morrisoni. Both horned dinosaurs are from the Leptoceratopsidae family of horned dinosaurs which lived during the Late Cretaceous period between 75 to 83 million years ago.
About the Unescoceratops koppelhusae:

The lower left jaw fragment of Unescoceratops was discovered in 1995 in Dinosaur Provincial Park, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site by Philip Currie, Ph.D., now of the University of Alberta.

Unescoceratops koppelhusae lived approximately 75 million years ago. It measured about one to two meters (6.5 feet) in length and weighed less than 91 kilograms (200 pounds). It had a short frill extending from behind its head but did not have ornamentation on its skull. It had a parrot-like beak. Its teeth were lower and rounder than those of any other leptoceratopsid. In addition, its hatchet-shaped jaw had a distinct portion of bone that projected below the jaw like a small chin.

About the Gryphoceratops morrisoni:

 Lower right jaw fragments of Gryphoceratops were discovered in southern Alberta in 1950 by Levi Sternberg while he worked for the Royal Ontario Museum. The genus is named for "Gryphon," a mythological Greek figure with the body of a lion and the head of an eagle, which is a reference to the animal's beaked face. The species name honors Ian Morrison, a Royal Ontario Museum technician.

Gryphoceratops morrisoni lived about 83 million years ago. It had a shorter and deeper jaw shape than any other leptoceratopsid. Researchers believe the individual was a full-grown adult. Based on unique characters of the jaw and its size, the researchers believe that Gryphoceratops was an adult that did not exceed one-half meter in length. This means it is the smallest adult-sized horned dinosaur in North America and one of the smallest adult-sized plant-eating dinosaurs known.

[via http://www.cmnh.org]

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