A New Dinosaur Related to the Triceratops

A new dinosaur species has been announced, a whopping 95 years after the discovery of its fossil. It’s called Spinops sternbergorum (“Sternberg’s spine-face”, after the Sternberg father and son team who discovered the fossil).

A recreation of Spinops via ScienceDaily, copyright Dmitry Bogdanov.

From ScienceDaily:

Spinops was a plant-eater that weighed around two tons when alive, a smaller cousin of Triceratops. A single large horn projected from the top of the nose, and a bony neck frill sported at least two long, backward-projecting spikes as well as two forward-curving hooks. These unique structures distinguish Spinops from related horned dinosaurs…

Parts of the skulls of at least two Spinops were discovered in 1916 by Charles H. and Levi Sternberg, a father-and-son fossil collecting team. The Sternbergs recognized that their find represented a new species and sent the fossils to The Natural History Museum (London). However, the fossils were deemed too scrappy for exhibit, and consequently were shelved for decades. It wasn’t until Farke and colleagues recognized the importance of the fossil that the bones were finally cleaned for study.

I don’t really understand how that happens. How do you discover a new species and then just… let it lie? This field of science definitely seems different than what I’m used to. In any case, I’m glad the discoverers eventually got the credit they deserved.

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