Cleveland . . . Michael J. Ryan, Ph.D., a scientist at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, has announced the discovery of a new horned dinosaur, Medusaceratops lokii. Approximately 20 feet long and weighing more than 2 tons, the newly identified plant-eating dinosaur lived nearly 78 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous period in what is now Montana. Its identification marks the discovery of a new genus of horned dinosaur.
Ryan, curator and head of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Museum, published his findings on the new genus in the book, "New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium," available from Indiana University Press. Ryan was the book's lead editor.
Medusaceratops belongs to the Chasmosaurinae subfamily of the horned dinosaur family Ceratopsidae. The other subfamily is Centrosaurinae. The specimen is the first Campanian-aged chasmosaurine ceratopsid found in Montana. It is also the oldest known Chasmosaurine ceratopsid.
The new dinosaur was discovered in a bonebed on private land located along the Milk River in North Central Montana. Fossilized bones from the site were acquired by Canada Fossil, Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, in the mid-1990s. The company consulted with Ryan and his colleagues to identify material from the site. At first, the scientists could not make a positive identification.
Medusaceratops had giant brow bones more than 3 feet long over each eye, and a large, shield-like frill off the back of its skull adorned with large curling hooks. Medusaceratops lokii means "Loki's horned-faced Medusa," referring to the thickened, fossilized, snake-like hooks on the side of the frill. It was named after Loki, the Norse god of mischief, because the new dinosaur initially caused scientists some confusion.
"At first we couldn't figure out what we had," said Ryan. "Some of the material looked as if
|Contact: Glenda Bogar|
Cleveland Museum of Natural History