Wendi the horny dino named after Canadian fossil hunter. Charming!

'Striking' Wendiceratops weighed over a ton, lived 79 million years ago

Credit: PLoS One/Danielle Dufault

Pics A very big-boned and horny-faced ceratopsian dinosaur has been dubbed Wendiceratops pinhornensis as a tribute to the work of Canadian fossil hunter Wendy Sloboda.

The new dino was identified from fossilised bones found in Alberta, Canada. Boffins involved in the dig believe that W pinhornensis was roughly 20 feet long and weighed over a ton. It lived around 79 million years ago, and belonged to same general class of dinos as the well-known Triceratops.

Credit: PLoS One/Danielle Dufault

That's one big, ugly dinosaur

Perhaps the most notable feature of the new ceratopsian is its face, featuring forward-curled hooklike horns on the rim of the characteristic bony frill and extra horns projecting from the forehead area. As well as this, Wendiceratops had a large nose horn which has caused quite a stir among bone-furtling scientists.

"Wendiceratops helps us understand the early evolution of skull ornamentation in an iconic group of dinosaurs characterised by their horned faces," enthused palaeontologist Dr David Evans. "The number of gnarly frill projections and horns makes it one of the most striking horned dinosaurs ever found."

The dino was also impressive, like all its kind, for sheer bulk. Assuming that the boffins' calculation of length is correct, it appears that Wendiceratops' buttocks - the creature's highest point - must have towered as much as two metres above the ground.

Dr Evans and his colleagues on the W pinhornensis study named the dino in honour of Dr Sloboda in part because it was she who discovered the prehistoric bonefield in which the relevant fossils were found.

"Wendy Sloboda has a sixth sense for discovering important fossils. She is easily one of the very best dinosaur hunters in the world," said Evans.

Full boffinry detail is available here in the journal PLoS One. ®

Updated to Add

Wendy Sloboda is actually a photographer and dino hunter rather than an academic researcher, so not strictly a boffin. Hence our amended headline.


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