New Dinosaur Canada: Researchers Discovered Exciting Species, The 'Alien Horned' Xenoceratops, Found In Alberta [VIDEO]

By Anthony Smith on November 8, 2012 4:09 PM EST

Xenoceratops
New dinosaur Canada: the 'alien horned' Xenoceratops discovered in Alberta. (Photo: WIkimedia Commons)

A new dinosaur discovered in Canada-- one of a series of new dinosaurs species discovered this year in Alberta by paleontologists-- led to researchers giving the strange fossilized remains the name Xenoceratops due to its strange 'alien horned' appearance.

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Endemic to this exciting new species of dinosaur is its very strange, bird-like beak, razor-sharp spikes protruding from the back and front of its skull, and two curved horns pointing forward.

Surprisingly enough, paleontologists believe that those forward-facing horns on the Xenoceratops's face are part of a little bromance-- or at least, an adolescent dinosaur mating ritual amongst men. According Dr. David Evans of the Royal Ontario Museum, the horns were used as a means of showcasing to members of their species that the horned dinosaur was of mating age, and to display to other males that the Canadian species was ready to compete for mates.

According to the research team, the herbivorous 'alien horned' Xenoceratops was discovered in the southern region of Alberta, just outside the village of Foremost. Some researchers believe that, though this Canada dinosaur discovery is brand new, it represents one of the oldest of the horned dinosaur species of which scientists know.

"Starting 80 million years ago, the large-bodied horned dinosaurs in North America underwent an evolutionary explosion," explained Dr. Michael Ryan, lead author of the study which claims the discovery of the new dinosaur that was published in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. "Xenoceratops shows us that even the geologically oldest ceratopsids had massive spikes on their head shields and that their cranial ornamentation would only become more elaborate as new species evolved."

Of its importance, Dr. Ryan continued: "The Xenoceratops is the most primitive dinosaur (of the ceratopsids) we have found in Canada."

His colleague, Dr. Evans continued: "Xenoceratops provides new information on the early evolution of ceratopsids, the group of large-bodied horned dinosaurs that includes Triceratops. The early fossil record of ceratopsids remains scant, and this discovery highlights just how much more there is to learn about the origin of this diverse group."

The first fragments of the Xenoceratops's skull were found in 1958, by Dr. Wann Langston. It has taken researchers 50 years to find all the bones to justify calling the dinosaur a new species.

"The study fills an important gap missing from records," said Dr. Evans, who claims that the new finding means significant progress will be made discovering brand new dinosaur species in the Alberta region, giving researchers around the world significant new information about the horned family from which these alien Xenoceratops come.

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