In a discovery which began 10 years ago with Peter Hews stumbling across a nearly completely intact dinosaur skull sticking out of a cliff along the Oldman River in Alberta, Canada, researchers recently identified the skull as that of a previously unknown species of horned dinosaur found in a geographic region in which horned dinosaurs were not previously known to have existed.
The findings, which were published in the journal Current Biology, indicate the dinosaur’s formal name to be Regaliceratops peterhewsi, however, CNN reports that the researchers are calling him “Hellboy” — a name derived from the horned comic book character, as the researchers experienced a noteworthy level of difficulty when separating the bones from the hard rock in which they were preserved.
Hellboy lived between the Jurassic and Tertiary periods, in the Cretaceous period, some 70 million years ago during the Mesozoic era.
Dr. Caleb Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta was quoted by NPR as having said that it wasn’t until the dinosaur’s bones were separated from rock did it become apparent to researchers that the specimen “was obviously a new species, and an unexpected one at that.”
Once it was prepared it was obviously a new species, and an unexpected one at that. Many horned-dinosaur researchers who visited the museum did a double take when they first saw it in the laboratory (…) This new species is a Chasmosaurine, but it has ornamentation more similar to Centrosaurines (…) It also comes from a time period following the extinction of the Centrosaurines.
Aesthetically speaking, the newly discovered species has eye horns which are almost “comically small” in Brown’s opinion.