WATCH: A dinosaur fossil said to be 68-million years old, is now on display right here in Alberta, and its name is making it a memorable addition to the dino family. Stefan Keyes introduces you to Hellboy.
TORONTO – Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum has unveiled a new species of horned dinosaur it’s calling Hellboy. Museum officials say the new species with bizarre armour-plating has two horns sticking out over its eyes just like the comic book and movie character.
But Caleb Brown says it really got the nickname because of the many problems with excavating the 68-million year-old fossil. The rock that housed the dinosaur was very hard.
To top it off, that section of the river is crucial habitat for Alberta’s provincial fish, the bull trout. No sediment or debris was allowed to fall in the water.
Digging out the fossil took years.
About 10 years ago Peter Hews noticed dinosaur bones sticking out of a cliff along the Oldman River in southeastern Alberta. Though finding dinosaur fossil remains isn’t that unusual in Alberta, finding a previously unknown species is pretty rare.
Horned dinosaurs fall into two groups: the Centrosaursines, which have a large horn over the nose, small horns over the eyes and a short frill on its head. The popular triceratops falls into that category.
The second group is called the Chasmosaurines. These horned dinos have a small horn over the nose, larger horns over the eyes and a long frill.
Brown, whose paper on the dinosaur was published Thursday, says it was worth it to find a completely new species from the Triceratops family.
What makes this new discovery so interesting is that its nose horn is tall and the two horns over its eyes are extremely small. But its frill is what makes it so distinct: it has a halo of large pentagonal plates that radiate outward along with a central spike. The result is a crown-like appearance, which is why the new species has been named the Regaliceratops peterhewsi — a reference to the crown-like appearance and the name of its discoverer.
“The specimen comes from a geographic region of Alberta where we have not found horned dinosaurs before, so from the onset we knew it was important,” says Dr. Caleb Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada. “However, it was not until the specimen was being slowly prepared from the rocks in the laboratory that the full anatomy was uncovered, and the bizarre suite of characters revealed… Many horned-dinosaur researchers who visited the museum did a double take when they first saw it in the laboratory.”
This new discovery shows that these two groups developed similar features independently of one another.
“This discovery also suggests that there are likely more horned dinosaurs out there that we just have not found yet, so we will also be looking for other new species,” Brown says.
With files from The Canadian Press