Reality Check for Jurassic World: Unearthing Two Bizarre Triceratops Cousins

Paleontologists have made exciting discoveries in the world of dinosaurs, unearthing two new relatives of the triceratops. The first, Machairoceratops cronusi, lived approximately 77 million years ago during the Cretaceous period.

With a length of around 26 feet (8 meters), it had a frill adorned with five distinctive horns, likely used for mate competition and sexual display. This dinosaur was a plant-eater and was discovered in Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

The second triceratops relative, Spiclypeus shipporum, was discovered in Montana over a decade ago but was recently identified as a new species.

This dinosaur lived around 76 million years ago and was named after the Montana rancher, Bill Shipp, who made the discovery. Spiclypeus means “spiked shield,” and the dinosaur had a unique arrangement of horns and spikes on its frill.

Despite its exciting discovery, one specimen, named Judith, had a challenging life, showing signs of disease, likely arthritis, and a bone infection.

These discoveries emphasize the ongoing importance of basic exploratory science, even in well-studied regions like western North America, where new species are still being found.

Both Machairoceratops cronusi and Spiclypeus shipporum contribute to our understanding of the diverse dinosaur species that inhabited different regions during the Cretaceous period.


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