Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New horned dinosaur announced nearly 100 years after discovery

Date:
December 7, 2011
Source:
Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology
Summary:
A new species of horned dinosaur was just announced by an international team of scientists, nearly 100 years after the initial discovery of the fossil. The animal, named Spinops sternbergorum, lived approximately 76 million years ago in southern Alberta, Canada. Spinops was a plant-eater that weighed around two tons when alive, a smaller cousin of Triceratops.

Artist's rendering of the head of Spinops sternbergorum.
Credit: Copyright Dmitry Bogdanov, courtesy of Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology

A new species of horned dinosaur was just announced by an international team of scientists led by Alf Museum staff, 95 years after the initial discovery of the fossil.

Related Articles


The animal, named Spinops sternbergorum, lived approximately 76 million years ago in southern Alberta, Canada.

Spinops was a plant-eater that weighed around two tons when alive, a smaller cousin of Triceratops. A single large horn projected from the top of the nose, and a bony neck frill sported at least two long, backward-projecting spikes as well as two forward-curving hooks. These unique structures distinguish Spinops from related horned dinosaurs.

"I was amazed to learn the story behind these specimens, and how they went unstudied for so long," said Andrew Farke, Augustyn Family Curator of Paleontology at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology, and lead author on the study naming Spinops. "This animal is an important addition to our understanding of horned dinosaur diversity and evolution," Farke continued.

Parts of the skulls of at least two Spinops were discovered in 1916 by Charles H. and Levi Sternberg, a father-and-son fossil collecting team. The Sternbergs recognized that their find represented a new species and sent the fossils to The Natural History Museum (London). However, the fossils were deemed too scrappy for exhibit, and consequently were shelved for decades. It wasn't until Farke and colleagues recognized the importance of the fossil that the bones were finally cleaned for study.

"This study highlights the importance of museum collections for understanding the history of our planet," commented Farke. "My colleagues and I were pleasantly surprised to find these fossils on the museum shelf, and even more astonished when we determined that they were a previously unknown species of dinosaur."

The name Spinops sternbergorum (pronounced "SPIN-ops stern-berg-OR-uhm") means "Sternbergs' spine face," referring to the headgear of the animal and honoring the original discoverers of the fossil. Although the face of Spinops is similar to its close relatives Centrosaurus and Styracosaurus, the unique anatomy of the bony neck frill gives scientists better insight into how this structure evolved. In particular, the fossils of Spinops clarify the identification of the long frill spikes common in some horned dinosaurs. Previously, scientists had inferred that these spikes evolved only once in the group. Careful study of Spinops, however,suggests that its spikes are located in a different position from that seen in most other horned dinosaurs, implying that the structures evolved independently. This finding allows a more accurate reconstruction of evolutionary relationships, and is being tested with additional study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Farke, A. A., M. J. Ryan, P. M. Barrett, D. H. Tanke, D. R. Braman, M. A. Loewen, and M. R. Graham. A new centrosaurine from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada, and the evolution of parietal ornamentation in horned dinosaurs. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 56(4) DOI: 10.4202/app.2010.0121

Cite This Page:

Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. "New horned dinosaur announced nearly 100 years after discovery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111206115051.htm>.
Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. (2011, December 7). New horned dinosaur announced nearly 100 years after discovery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111206115051.htm
Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology. "New horned dinosaur announced nearly 100 years after discovery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111206115051.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer History on Display at Museum of Death

Killer History on Display at Museum of Death

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — Visitors take a trip down murderer memory lane at the Museum of Death located in the heart of Hollywood. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Major Clue Found In Amelia Earhart Mystery

Major Clue Found In Amelia Earhart Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) — Researchers believe they have identified a fragment from Amelia Earhart's plane. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dracula's Dungeon May Have Been Found in Turkey

Dracula's Dungeon May Have Been Found in Turkey

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) — Historians think they may have discovered a dungeon in Turkey where the Romanian prince who inspired Count Dracula was once held captive. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Doesn't Prove Megalodons Are Extinct, Never Needed To

Study Doesn't Prove Megalodons Are Extinct, Never Needed To

Newsy (Oct. 27, 2014) — How and why a study about when the giant prehistoric shark Megalodon went extinct got picked up as "proof" that it is. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins