At first glance, the untrained eye is likely to be a Triceratops. But actually, Regaliceratops peterhewsi is its very close relative. However, scientists say that there are some crucial differences.
The bones of the new species, which lived in the Cretaceous approximately 70 million years ago, were found about 10 years ago near a river in southeastern Alberta, Canada. But, it wasn’t until it was being prepared that its unusual horns were noticed, says Caleb Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta.
Once it was prepared it was obviously a new species, and an unexpected one at that. Many horned-dinosaur researchers who visited the museum did a double take when they first saw it in the laboratory,” he says.
It acquired the nickname “Hellboy” for the horned comic-book and film character.
According to paleontologists, the “horned dinosaurs” fall into two categories — Chasmosaurines, with a small horn above the nose and larger horns over the eyes, and Centrosaurines, with a large horn over nose and smaller “eye horns.”
Unlike Triceratops, “Hellboy” has almost “comically small” eye horns. Along with the new dinosaur’s large shield-like frill, “the combined result looks like a crown,” Brown says.
This new species is a Chasmosaurine, but it has ornamentation more similar to Centrosaurines. It also comes from a time period following the extinction of the Centrosaurines,” he added.
Hence, the two groups evolved the same features independently.
The textbooks used to show Triceratops using its horns to fend off Tyrannosaurus Rex, but the thinking has changed about that. Most of the horns would actually be pretty useless for defense,” explained Brown.
via Yahoo News