Friday, June 20, 2014
Paleontologists have just announced the discovery of a brand new type of horned dinosaur -- Mercuriceratops!!
The 77-million-year-old creature was a relative of the far better known Triceratops. But weighing in at about 2 tons, Mercuriceratops gemini was half the size of Triceratops. What's so special about Mercuriceratops? It had large, bony wings jutting out from either side of the lower part of its frill.
Mercuriceratops is named after Mercury, the Roman god of messengers. Mercury is often depicted wearing a helmet with wings on either side of it. The genus name "gemini" comes from the Zodiac sign of Gemini, the Twins -- because there were two jutting frills.
Researchers think the wing-like protrusions were designed to attract mates.
They found the first specimen on private land in Montana in rocks known as the Judith River Formation. This speciment is now owned by the Royal Albert Museum in Alberta. The second speciment was found in Canada, proving that the first speciment was a new species -- not an aberrant mutation or disease growth. The second specimen, too, is going to the Royal Albert Museum (they found theirs in a former quarry in Dinsoaur Provincial Park).
The map shows you where they found them.