'Alien' horned dinosaur found in Canada

Nov. 12, 2012 at 5:00 PM
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OTTAWA, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Canadian researchers say they have identified fossils found more than 50 years ago as a new species of horned dinosaur that roamed Alberta 78 million years ago.

Xenoceratops foremostensis, identified from fossils originally collected in 1958, was around 20 feet long and weighed more than 2 tons and represents the oldest known large-bodied horned dinosaur from Canada, paleontologists said.

Writing in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, researchers said the new dinosaur was identified from skull fragments from at least three individuals collected in the 1950s and currently housed in the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Canada.

Xenoceratops, which means "alien horned-face, had a parrot-like beak with two long brow horns above its eyes, while a large frill protruded from the back of its skull featuring two huge spikes.

"Xenoceratops provides new information on the early evolution of ceratopsids, the group of large-bodied horned dinosaurs that includes Triceratops," study co-author David Evans of the Royal Ontario Museum and University of Toronto said.

"The early fossil record of ceratopsids remains scant, and this discovery highlights just how much more there is to learn about the origin of this diverse group."

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