New dinosaur species found from museum vaults

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 17:48

London: Researchers have discovered what they say are the remains of a new horned dinosaur species which has been lying in the vaults of a British museum for nearly a century.

The remains of Spinops sternbergorum, which belongs to
the same family as the Triceratops, were excavated from a
quarry alongside a large group of fossils in a so-called "bone
bed" in Alberta, Canada in 1916.

But the bones were described as "rubbish" by the Natural
History Museum`s keeper of Geology at that time, and lay
unnoticed for almost 100 years before experts realised they
belonged to an undescribed species.

They were rediscovered by a current group of researchers
who decided to take another look at the fossils and realised
that they were unlike any others known to science.

Dr Andrew Farke, who led the research team, said: "I knew
right away that these fossils were something unusual, and it
was very exciting to learn about their convoluted history.

"Here we have not just one, but multiple individuals of
the same species, so we are confident that it’s not just an odd
example of a previously known species," Dr Farke was quoted as
saying a newspaper.

The find means that paleontologists will have to redefine
how the horned dinosaur group, plant-eating dinosaurs sporting
large horns and bony frills on their necks, are classified.

Dr Paul Barrett, the Natural History Museum`s resident
researcher, said: "This discovery is of particular importance
as it has implications on the way we use the spines that
extend from the bony neck frill, which may have been used for
identification between individuals, in our classifications of
these animals.

"These embellishments are central to determining
relationships between the groups of horned dinosaurs and are a
sign of evolutionary relatedness."

PTI




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