Washington, May 29 (ANI): The discovery of a new horned dinosaur, Medusaceratops lokii, has been announced by a scientist at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History.
The newly identified plant-eating dinosaur, approximately 20 feet long and weighing more than 2 tons, lived nearly 78 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period in what is now Montana. Its identification marks the discovery of a new genus of horned dinosaur.
Michael J. Ryan, curator and head of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Museum, published his findings on the new genus in the book, "New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium."
Medusaceratops belongs to the Chasmosaurinae subfamily of the horned dinosaur family Ceratopsidae. The other subfamily is Centrosaurinae. The specimen is the first Campanian-aged chasmosaurine ceratopsid found in Montana. It is also the oldest known Chasmosaurine ceratopsid.
The new dinosaur was discovered in a bonebed on private land located along the Milk River in North Central Montana. Fossilized bones from the site were acquired by Canada Fossil, Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, in the mid-1990s.
"Medusaceratops is the oldest member of the Chasmosaurinae in North America and shows that the group, like its most famous member, Triceratops, had long brow horns and were fairly large when they first evolved," said Ryan. "But later chasmosaurs that are just a bit younger than Medusaceratops tend to have much shorter horns and have much smaller, lighter bodies.
"Here we have something almost the size of Triceratops, but 10 million years before it lived," Ryan said. "T. rex was not around yet, so what was Medusaceratops squaring off against? That's one of the things we're now looking for in Alberta." (ANI)