Bookmark: The horniest dino species discovered in Utah


Kospoceratops richardsoniNational Science Foundation announced today that a novel dinosaur species was discovered in Utah. It is a close relative to Triceratops and is called Kosmoceratops richardsoni; it lived at about 76 millions of years ago. It was 5 meters long from snout to tail and its weight is estimated at 2.5 tonnes. His head measures 2 meters and is disproportional compared to the total body size.

The most impressive thing about it is the numbers of horns on his head: it has 15! Why that many horns? Here is the explanation:

But what about these ugly, horned creatures … Although much speculation has ensued about the function of the ceratopsian horns and frills of these prehistoric monsters–from fighting off predators to recognizing other members of the same species or controlling body temperature–the dominant idea today is that these features functioned first and foremost to enhance reproductive success. Scott Sampson, first author on the paper, explains, “Most of these bizarre features would have made lousy weapons to fend off predators. It’s far more likely that they were used to intimidate or do battle with rivals of the same sex, as well as to attract individuals of the opposite sex.”

Here is the original paper from PLoS ONE. Recommended reading!

Image: Reconstruction: Lukas Panzarin/PLoS