Triceratops are passe. Here comes a new horned dinosaur and its cranial ornamentation is even more flowery than the three-horned dinosaur the world had earlier come to know, reveals a new study.
A study of the recently discovered species, Mercuriceratops gemini, provides more details on this flashy dinosaur which possessed not only the standard trifecta of facial horns but also a giant, wing-like frill protruding from the back of its skull.
The research is based on fossil evidence collected from Montana and Alberta, Canada.
The dinosaur’s name, Mercuriceratops, is a combination of “Mercury” — the Roman God best known for his winged helmet — and “ceratops,” a Greek word meaning “horned face”.
“The butterfly shaped frill, or neck shield, of Mercuriceratops is unlike anything we have seen before,” said David Evans, curator of vertebrate paleontology at Royal Ontario Museum in Canada.
“Mercuriceratops shows that evolution gave rise to much greater variation in horned dinosaur headgear than we had previously suspected,” he added.
Mercuriceratops gemini lived about 77 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period, and was approximately 6 metres long and weighed more than 2 tonnes, Live Science reported.
The findings appeared in the journal Naturwissenschaften.