Upon re-examination of the previously undescribed fossils, the palaeontologists realised the bones belonged to at least three individuals of a new type of plant-eating dinosaur. Once the fossils had been analysed more closely, it became apparent the dinosaurs (relatives of the famous Triceratops) would each have weighed an impressive two tonnes and grown to a colossal 20ft in length.
The palaeontologists named the new dinosaur Xenoceratops which means ‘alien horned-face’ – a reference to the odd pattern of horns on the dinosaurs head, as well as the relative scarcity of horned dinosaur specimens from this period of the fossil record.
Xenoceratops is believed it to have lived in the Late Cretaceous period (100-65 million years ago) at the same time as other dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus-Rex and Stegosaurus. The four horned giant is the latest in a series of new discoveries being made as part of the Southern Alberta Dinosaur Project, a venture designed to increase understanding of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs and to study their evolution.
- The first dinosaur to be formally named was Megalosaurus, meaning great lizard, in 1824.
- Despite weighing in at almost two tonnes, Stegosaurus only had a brain the size of a walnut.
- The heaviest dinosaur known (from near-complete skeletons) is Brachiosaurus, it weighed a staggering 80 tonnes – that’s the equivalent of 17 African elephants.
Does anyone have any other fun dinosaur-related facts they’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.