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New horned dinosaur 'Hellboy' found

Published 05/06/2015

Peter Hews with the skull of Regaliceratops peterhewsi (Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta/PA)
Peter Hews with the skull of Regaliceratops peterhewsi (Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, Drumheller, Alberta/PA)

A new species of horned dinosaur nicknamed "Hellboy", after the comic book character, has been unveiled 10 years after it was discovered.

Regaliceratops peterhewsi is a newly described species of ceratopsid that lived during the Late Cretaceous period, around 68.5 to 67.5 million years ago, researchers at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, in Canada, said.

The skull was discovered sticking out of a cliff by Calgary geologist Peter Hews, after whom it is named, in 2005 in south-eastern Alberta and has taken a decade to go on public display.

A close relative of Triceratops, the fossil was found in a part of Canada where horned dinosaurs had not been found before and suggests an evolutionary link between two distinct groups of horned dinosaurs, the museum said.

It was given its nickname because of the difficulty scientists had in excavating the skull due to the hardness of rock it was encased in, as well as its distinctive features - with two stubby horns over the eyes and a long nose horn.

Palaeontologist Caleb Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum told Sky News: "This new animal is definitely one of the weirdest horned dinosaurs.

"How weird it is really only becomes fully apparent when you compare it to its close relatives, in which case it stands out like a sore thumb."

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