SALT LAKE CITY, May 28, 2010 A new species of horned dinosaur unearthed in Mexico has larger horns that any other species up to 4 feet long and has given scientists fresh insights into the ancient history of western North America, according to a research team led by paleontologists from the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah.
"We know very little about the dinosaurs of Mexico, and this find increases immeasurably our knowledge of the dinosaurs living in Mexico during the Late Cretaceous," said Mark Loewen, a paleontologist with the Utah Museum of Natural History and lead author of the study.
The 72-million-year-old rhino-sized creature Coahuilaceratops magnacuerna was a four- to five-ton plant-eater belonging to a group called horned dinosaurs, or ceratopsids. The name Coahuilaceratops magnacuerna (Koh-WHE-lah-SARA-tops mag-NAH-KWER-na), refers to the Mexican state of Coahuila where it was found, and to the Greek word "ceratops" meaning "horned face." The second part of the name, magnacuerna, is a combination of Latin and Spanish meaning "great horn," in reference to the huge horns above the eyes of this dinosaur.
The study, partially funded by the National Geographic Society, was conducted by Mark Loewen, Scott Sampson, Eric Lund and Mike Getty, paleontologists at the Utah Museum of Natural History. Also involved were Andrew Farke of the Raymond M. Alf Museum in Claremont, Calif.; Martha Aguilln-Martnez, Claudio de Leon and Rubn Rodrguez-de la Rosa from the Museum of the Desert in Saltillo, Mexico; and David Eberth of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada.
The new species is to be announced in the book "New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs" to be released next week by Indiana University Press.
A Different World
For most of the Late Cretaceous Period,
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University of Utah