It seems like there have been a lot of new horned dinosaurs discovered lately. I’ve reported on several (see here and here). Today comes a report, from Canada.com, of yet another new horned dinosaur. Known as Medusaceratops lokii, it lived during the Cretaceous period, approximately 80 million years ago, along the eastern shores of Laramidia (the western part of North America), near what is today the Alberta-Montana border.
The discovery was made by two Canadian scientists, Anthony Russell (a biologist for the University of Calgary), and Michael Ryan (an adjunct professor at Carleton University, as well as the head of vertebrate paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History). The new dinosaur is scheduled to be described in the book New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium, edited by Michael J. Ryan, Brenda J. Chinnery-Allgeier, and David A. Eberth. The book is being published by Indiana University Press, and is scheduled for release on June 17, 2010.
The new dinosaur was named for the Medusa of Greek myth, because of the snake-like horns that protrude from its massive bone crest. It’s species name comes from Loki, the Norse god of mischief, because it was such a tricky dinosaur to identify. According to Ryan, speaking in the Canada.com interview, it required years of study to finally identify the remains as that of a new species. This was, in part, because the remains were part of a bone bed, a collection of disarticulated bones grouped together by the force of water or other natural activities.
According to Ryan, his team at first thought they had found an Albertaceratops, a very similar and closely related genus of ceratopsian. It did not help, according to Ryan, that he had earlier found one nearby.
Due to copyright concerns, I have not included an image of Medusaceratops lokii. To see one, follow the link to the Canada.com article.