New horned dinosaur discovered in Alberta

WATCH: A southern Alberta woman has discovered a new species of dinosaur. The find by itself is pretty big, but for Wendy Slobota it the icing on the cake in her amazing career. Quinn Campbell reports.

TORONTO –  You might want to call her “Wendy” for short.

Meet a new species of horned dinosaur, Wendiceratops pinhornensis, the oldest known member of large-horned dinosaurs that once roamed Earth.

Wendiceratops was discovered in Canada’s dinosaur hotbed, southern Alberta. The dinosaur, a relative to the popular Triceratops is believed to have lived about 79 million years ago. That makes it significantly older than the more recently discovered “Hellboy,” another new species of horned dinosaur that was also found in Alberta.

READ MORE: Here’s why we can’t clone a dinosaur but we can make a chickenosaurus

The dinosaur, about six metres long and weighing about one tonne, was an herbivore and used its leaf-shaped teeth to munch on low-lying plants.

Story continues below advertisement

Like the discovery of “Hellboy,” Wendiceratops is shedding light on the development of horns on this group of dinosaurs.

As is typical of this type of dinosaur, Wendiceratops had a particularly interesting head. But researchers say that this particular dinosaur is much more special than others.

Illustration of the Wendiceratops. Danielle Dufault


Get the day's top news, political, economic, and current affairs headlines, delivered to your inbox once a day.

Get daily National news

Get the day's top news, political, economic, and current affairs headlines, delivered to your inbox once a day.
By providing your email address, you have read and agree to Global News' Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

The field crew excavating the Wendiceratops bonebed.

From its shield-like frill at the back of its head, it had a series of hook-like horns that curled forward. As well, the paleontologists believe that it had a tall, upright nose horn, making it the earliest nose horn documented in this type of dinosaur.

Watch the video above: Digging up Wendiceratops

Story continues below advertisement

Wendiceratops helps us understand the early evolution of skull ornamentation in an iconic group of dinosaurs characterized by their horned faces,” said Dr. David Evans, Temerty Chair and Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, and co-author of the study. “The wide frill of Wendiceratops is ringed by numerous curled horns, the nose had a large, upright horn, and it’s likely there were horns over the eyes too. The number of gnarly frill projections and horns makes it one of the most striking horned dinosaurs ever found.”

READ MORE: Discovered dinosaur path 115 million years old

The findings will help paleontologists gain a better understanding of when the nose horn evolved.

The dinosaur’s name means “Wendy’s horned face.” It was named after Wendy Sloboda who found the site in 2010 and who has discovered hundreds of fossils over the last 30 years, including several new species.


Story continues below advertisement

“I just happened to find this one. It was in a dark spot, in a band and there was a bone sticking out,” Sloboda said of her find. “It’s cool because you are the first person to see it, the first person to touch it, and the fact that it’s never been seen before…so all that combined, it’s just really exciting.”

“Her contributions to paleontology in Alberta really can’t be understated,” said Evans. “She has a sixth sense for finding fossils. Her contribution goes far beyond Wendiceratops. Wendy is kind of legendary in the paleontological community for her ability to find important specimens.”

Approximately 200 bones, belonging to at least four separate dinosaurs, were found in the Oldman Formation in southern Alberta.

Wendiceratops is on display at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

Sponsored content