Scientists had an extremely difficult time unearthing the fossil of a new dinosaur which was called “Hellboy” because of the effort it required. The fossil was taken out of a hard limestone by Canadian river bank. The animal is described in the journal Current Biology.
The official name of the dinosaur is Regaliceratops peterhewsi which means “royal horned face”. The second name comes from its discoverer, geologist Peter Hews. The co-author of the study, Donald Henderson from the Tyrrell Museum said that the dinosaur is a close relative of the Triceratops which roamed the earth during the Cretaceous Period. Scientists estimate that the fossil is 68 million years old.
Researchers say that it is one of the most unique horned dinosaurs which were ever unearthed. Hellboy shows an exotic set of facial horns and it has spines at the back of its skull, around the edge of the bony frill.
The ceratopsid was discovered in 2005 by Hews while he was walking along the bank of the Oldman River (Alberta, Canada). The Royal Tyrrell Museum dealt with excavating the fossil in 2006 and 2008, but the job was very difficult. According to paleontologists Caleb Brown collecting the fossil was very hard because of the combination of steep cliffs and hard rock. In addition the investigators also had to take care and protect the fish spawning habit. Brown described the dinosaur by saying:
“This new animal is definitely one of the weirdest horned dinosaurs. 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.”
Regaliceratops has the size of today’s largest rhinos. It is estimated to measure 5 meters (16 feet) long and 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall at his hips. His weight is believed to be around 1.5 tons. Brown compared it with a big SUV. Although it is common to discover new species of dinosaurs nowadays, Brown explained that this fossil is the first example of evolutionary convergence. This means that two species which are not related have similar traits.
It seems that the Regaliceratops was a Chasmosaurine which is a group of dinosaurs that usually have a simple neck frill. However the fossil presented a large neck frill similar to the one usually observed in Centrosaurines, which is another species of horned dinosaurs which lived two million year before the Chasmosaurines. In fact that’s where the name of the dinosaur comes from: from the frill which gives the impression that the animal is wearing a crown.
Image Source: Forbes