Meet Wendiceratops pinhornens… a newly identified dinosaur and “one of the most striking horned dinosaurs ever found.” An older cousin of the well-known Triceratops, Wendiceratops has been named in honor of Wendy Sloboda, “one of the very best dinosaur hunters in the world,” and the woman who found the fossils that led to this exciting discovery.
Scientists announced their research and findings on Wednesday in a paper published in PLOS One. Wendy Sloboda, who “has been discovering dinosaur bones and eggs in Canada since she was a teenager,” discovered the bonebed where the Wendiceratops fossils were found in 2010 in southern Alberta. Paleontologist David Evans, a co-author of the study, said that Wendy “has a sixth sense for discovering important fossils.”
“Finding something that no one else has found — you can?t get much better than that.” – Wendy Sloboda
Wendiceratops, who lived 79 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period, is described as a 20 foot long, two-ton beast with eye-catching skull ornamentation that included a large, upright nose horn and an “array of gnarly horns curling forward off the back of its frill” at the back of its head. It’s likely there were horns over the eyes too. According Evans, “It is without a doubt one of the most highly ornamented members of the horned dinosaur family, which is well-known for their spiky skulls.”
So how did Wendy celebrate the honor of having a namesake in the dinosaur kingdom? She said, “I got a new tattoo of my dinosaur recently to show it off. It is pretty exciting for me.”
Lead image is a life reconstruction illustration by Danielle Dufault.