(Mirror Daily, United States) – Another has been added to the family of ceratopsians after paleontologists discover a new species of hornless dinosaur that roamed the Earth in the late Jurassic Period. It’s still a beautiful field in spite of decades that have passed, as scientists may yet uncover new species of the extinct animals.
Researchers found the remains in the Gobi Desert, in the Xinjiang Province, Western China. They managed to dig up a partially crushed skull, a few vertebrae, and a hind leg of a species never seen before who was part of a famous family of the long-lost animals. The newly found dinosaur was an ancestor of the Triceratops, famed as one of the most impressive species in the Cretaceous Period.
With their exquisite frills and horns, the giant Triceratops are one of the most popular dinosaurs to live before the end of the dinosaur era, which occurred around 66 million years ago. The behemoths grew larger than 30 feet and could weigh as much as 12 tonnes. They lived around 67 million years ago in North America, alongside of the famous Tyrannosaurus rex.
However, their ancestors did not display such an imposing figure. The newly discovered species was named Hualianceratops wucaiwanensis, which means “ornamental horned face from Wucaiwan”. That is because they did not possess the huge frills and giant horns of the other ceratopsians.
Instead, Hualianceratops were much smaller with a gnarly face, and, unlike the Triceratops, walked on its hind legs. It only displayed a small neck frill, a relatively large head for its body, and the trademark beak made for eating vegetation.
According to paleontologist Catherine Foster, from the George Washington University, it would look rather odd with its big head while running around on its hind legs. However, this particular species was only 3 feet in length, which means it was ten times smaller than the Triceratops. It lived around 160 million years ago in the late Jurassic Period.
That means that the ceratopsians evolved into walking on four legs across millions of years, along with acquiring their remarkably large horns and great size. Their discovery showed the amazing diversity within that particularly family of dinosaurs. They were more different across the evolutionary lineage than previously believed.
The research has shown that there is still plenty more to learn, even about famed and old species such as the Triceratops. They were an important group of herbivores in North America near the end of their existence upon our planet. The Hualianceratops was part of their family, though lived almost 100 million years before, along primitive mammals, crocodiles, and other dinosaurs.
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