Monday, November 26, 2007

Eotriceratops xerinsularis

From The Dinosaur of the Day at Nature

Eotriceratops xerinsularis was recently described in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences from the upper Horseshoe Canyon Formation of Alberta. It was first discovered by Barnum Brown from the AMNH back in the 1910's but he decided it wasn’t worth his while to collected it. About a decade ago it was rediscovered by the cook working for Dr. Philip Currie who was (and still is) collecting material from another old Barnum quarry in Dry Island Provincial Park, the Albertosaurus bone bed.

At 68 million years of age Eotriceratops is the earliest known member the Triceratops group, and shares their distinctive horns and solid frill (abstract of research paper).

“Until we found Eotriceratops, there was a significant gap in our knowledge about the dinosaurs that lived in Alberta and North America from 69 to 67 million years ago. The discovery of Eotriceratops is an important step in helping us understand the history of latest Cretaceous dinosaur evolution on this continent,” says Don Brinkman, head curator at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and one of the discovery team.

The thing was not in great condition when found. Dave Eberth, another researcher from the Tyrrell told the Edmonton Journal, “Basically, it’s a road kill. It looks like somebody ran over it in a Cretaceous Hummer.”