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‘Hellboy,’ a New Dinosaur Species Found That’s 68 Million Years Old

Photograph of Peter Hews with the skull of Regaliceratops peterhewsi that he found. Courtesy of Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta. 
(Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum)
Photograph of Peter Hews with the skull of Regaliceratops peterhewsi that he found. Courtesy of Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta.
(Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum)

The fossil of a dinosaur has been discovered on a Canadian riverbank, where it had been entombed for 68 million years, and it is “one of the most unusual horned dinosaurs ever discovered.”

Horned dinosaurs were a formidable group of Cretaceous Period plant-eaters. Regaliceratops lived near the end of the age of dinosaurs. Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum

Horned dinosaurs were a formidable group of Cretaceous Period plant-eaters. Regaliceratops lived near the end of the age of dinosaurs.
(Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum)

The scientists have described it as one of the most unique horned dinosaurs ever discovered. It is a beast that boasts an exotic set of facial horns and spines around the edge of the bony frill at the back of its skull.

It possessed a large conical horn over its nose and a pair of small, forward-curving horns over its eyes that were puny compared to its bigger close relative, Triceratops. Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum

It possessed a large conical horn over its nose, and a pair of small, forward-curving horns over its eyes that were puny compared to its bigger close relative, Triceratops. (Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum)

“This new animal is definitely one of the weirdest horned dinosaurs,” said paleontologist Caleb Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta. It has been named Regaliceratops peterhewsi.

Dinosaur dscovery in Alberta, Canada:

“How weird it is really only becomes fully apparent when you compare it to its close relatives, in which case it stands out like a sore thumb.”

Schematic line drawings of a Centrosaurine (Styracosaurus) and a Chasmosaurinae (Triceratops) with the new horned dinosaur Regaliceratops. Although Regaliceratops is closely related to Triceratops, the features of the horns and frill are superficially similar to centrosaurines. Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum

Schematic line drawings of a Centrosaurine (Styracosaurus) and a Chasmosaurinae (Triceratops) with the new horned dinosaur Regaliceratops. Although Regaliceratops is closely related to Triceratops, the features of the horns and frill are superficially similar to centrosaurines.
(Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum)

The dinosaur has been nicknamed after the comic book character “Hellboy” due to the difficulty collecting the specimen and for the challenging preparation process to remove it from the very hard rock in which it was encased, wrote the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

Artistic life reconstruction of the new horned dinosaur Regaliceratops peterhewsi in the palaeoenvironment of the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada. Image: Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta. Art by Julius T. Csotonyi.

Artistic life reconstruction of the new horned dinosaur Regaliceratops peterhewsi in the palaeoenvironment of the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada.
(Image: Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta, Art by Julius T. Csotonyi)

“We did have an earlier, politically incorrect name for it, but with great effort we managed to stop ourselves using it after a few months,” paleontologist Donald Henderson said.

A new species discovered—Regaliceratops peterhewsi:

The discovery was made by Calgary resident Peter Hews, a geologist in the petroleum industry, in 2005.

The snout was sticking out of a cliff along the Oldman River in southwestern Alberta, Canada.

Horned dinosaurs have not been found in this area before.

Seven bony spines in triangular and pentagonal shapes formed a halo around the edge of its large shield-like frill. Nearly the entire skull, but rest of the skeleton was not found. Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum

Seven bony spines in triangular and pentagonal shapes form a halo around the edge of its large shield-like frill. Nearly the entire skull was found, but not the rest of the skeleton. (Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum)

Regaliceratops, similar in size to today’s largest rhinos, was estimated at 5 meters long, 1.5 meters tall at the hips, and weighing about 1.5 tonnes. “Think of it like a big SUV,” Dr Brown said. The research appears in the journal Current Biology.

Seven bony spines in triangular and pentagonal shapes formed a halo around the edge of its large shield-like frill. Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum

Seven bony spines in triangular and pentagonal shapes formed a halo around the edge of its large shield-like frill.
(Image: Via Royal Tyrrell Museum)

The research on this specimen was completed by Royal Tyrrell Museum scientists Dr. Caleb Brown, a Post-doctoral Fellow, and Dr. Donald Henderson, Curator of Dinosaurs. Their research has greatly increased the understanding of the evolution of horned dinosaurs, said the Royal Tyrrell Museum.

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