New plant-eating dinosaur species identified

Toronto, May 19 (IANS) An international team of palaeontologists has identified new species of plant-eating horned dinosaur, the fossil remains of which were discovered in Montana nearly a decade ago.

The team, led by Jordan Mallon from the Canadian Museum of Nature, completed the scientific analysis that pinned down the dinosaur as a new species.

Mallon named the dinosaur as Spiclypeus shipporum which lived on the Earth about 76 million year ago.

About half of the skull, as well as parts of the dinosaur’s legs, hips and backbone had been preserved in the silty hillside that once formed part of an ancient floodplain.

“This is a spectacular new addition to the family of horned dinosaurs that roamed western North America between 85 and 66 million years ago,” said Mallon, who collaborated with researchers in Canada and the US.

“It provides new evidence of dinosaur diversity during the Late Cretaceous period from an area that is likely to yield even more discoveries,” he added in a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE.

What sets Spiclypeus shipporum apart from other horned dinosaurs such as the well-known Triceratops is the orientation of the horns over the eyes, which stick out sideways from the skull.

There is also a unique arrangement to the bony “spikes” that emanate from the margin of the frill — some of the spikes curl forward while others project outward.

–IANS

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