New Horned Triceratops Relative Nicknamed “Hellboy”

posted: 06/05/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Regaliceratops peterhewsi
Art by Julius T. Csotonyi. Courtesy of Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller, Alberta

When Dr. Caleb Brown first saw a nearly intact skull of a newly discovered Triceratops relative, he instantly knew that he was dealing with something special.

Discovered in Alberta, Canada, the Regaliceratops peterhewsi specimen sports a distinct frill, comprised of a crown-like arrangement of pentagonal plates radiating from its head. R. peterhewsi is also equipped with two "comically small" horns over its eyes, prompting Brown and his team to nickname the specimen "Hellboy", after the famous horned comic book character.

"Many horned-dinosaur researchers who visited the museum did a double take when they first saw it in the laboratory," said Brown.

Perhaps more importantly, R. peterhewsi is also giving researchers an unprecedented look into the evolutionary history of horned dinosaurs. There are two different classifications of horned dinosaurs: Chasmosaurines and Centrosaurines. Although officially classified as a Chasmosaurine, R. peterhewsi exhibits some characteristics of a Centrosaurine.

According to Brown, R. peterhewsi represents the first example of evolutionary convergence, a process through which two different groups independently developed similar features.

"This discovery also suggests that there are likely more horned dinosaurs out there that we just have not found yet, so we will also be looking for other new species," he added.

Click here to read the full study in the journal Current Biology

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