July 22, 2024

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Scientists have discovered a giant horned dinosaur in the United States

Scientists have discovered a giant horned dinosaur in the United States

According to researchers, it is one of the largest and most magnificent horned dinosaurs found so far.

During excavations in northern Montana, just miles from the US border with Canada, researchers discovered the remains of a large, horned dinosaur. Research shows that this species was unknown to us until recently, as can be read in the magazine Berg.

The researchers named the new species Locyceratops rangeiformis Given, which means something like “Loki’s horned face resembles that of a reindeer.” This name did not come out of nowhere. In addition to the upright carapace – or collar – the dinosaur’s head also features two giant horns, which – just like a reindeer’s horns – are asymmetrical.

Locyratops rangeiformis It lived more than 78 million years ago in what was then a swampy area in Laramidia (see box). This means that the dinosaur lived about 12 million years before known dinosaurs Triceratops. It must be on time L. rangeiformis – At 6.7 meters long and weighing about 5,000 kilograms – it was probably the largest horned dinosaur.

Now North America is a contiguous continent. But things were different during the Cretaceous period. North America was then divided by a strait (connecting the Arctic Ocean with the Caribbean Sea). This created two subcontinents: Laramidia (in the west) and Appalachia (in the east).

Dinosaurs now found in modern Montana and former Laramidia can be classified as ceratopsians. This is a group of herbivorous horned dinosaurs, which also includes, e.g., Tyrannosaurus Triceratops belongs. The group formed about 92 million years ago and lasted until about 66 million years ago. The collection is home to an enormous diversity of dinosaurs. And with discovery L. rangeiformis The collection has become more diverse!

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Left: Fossilized Lokiceratops skull. Photo: Museum of Evolution. Right: Reconstruction of the Lokiceratops skull. Photo: © Andre Atochin for the Museum of Evolution in Maribo, Denmark.

Unlike that
L. rangeiformis It is distinguished in several ways from other dinosaurs that actually belong to the ceratopsian family. For example, unlike many other horned dinosaurs, it does not have a horn on its nose, but it does have large horns on the back of its collar. Recent centuries are particularly distinctive; Never before have researchers seen such large horns on the back of a ceratopsian dinosaur’s collar. What L. rangeiformis What also makes it unique is the presence of two asymmetrical spines in the middle of its collar.

Strange skull decoration
“This new dinosaur pushes the boundaries when it comes to bizarre ceratopsian head decorations,” researcher Joseph Sertic said. “(This new dinosaur, ed.) had the largest horned collar ever seen in a ceratopsian dinosaur.”

L. rangeiformis It is certainly not the first horned dinosaur found in the former Laramidia region. The remains of four other types of horned dinosaurs were previously discovered in the same area. “Previously, paleontologists believed that at most two types of horned dinosaurs could coexist in the same place at the same time,” says researcher Mark Lewin. “But we have identified five who live together.” It reveals once again that horned dinosaurs were more diverse than previously thought. But judging by the fact that an island continent like Laramidia was home to at least five different species of horned dinosaurs, it seems that some species of horned dinosaurs only had a small range.