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Scientists name dinosaur species discovered in Alberta

Scientists have named the dinosaur Xenoceratops
Scientists have named the dinosaur Xenoceratops

Cheryl Santa Maria, staff writer

November 8, 2012 — Scientists have named a species of horned dinosaur Xenoceratops, which means "alien horned-face."

Measuring approximately 20 feet and weighing 2 tons, Xenoceratops was identified from fossils collected in 1958.

Scientists say it is one of the oldest known horned dinosaurs in Canada.

"Starting 80 million years ago ... large-bodied horned dinosaurs in North America underwent an evolutionary explosion,” said lead author Dr. Michael Ryan in a statement. “Xenoceratops shows us that even the geologically oldest ceratopsids had massive spikes on their head shields.”

The dinosaur, whose full name is Xenoceratops foremostensis, was named for the unique pattern of horns on its head. The second part of the name references the village of Foremost, Alberta, an area close to where the dinosaur was discovered.

Research on the newly-named dinosaur has been published in a recent issue of The Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences.

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