A new, never-before-witnessed dinosaur was unveiled by paleontologists from the Royal Tyrrell Museum in a discovery 10 years in the making.
First discovered by a resident of southeastern Alberta in 2005, Regaliceratops peterhewsi, was christened ‘Hellboy’ to commemorate the “hellish” conditions in which it was excavated and the rigidity of the rock enclosing the find.
Alberta’s Minister of Culture and Tourism, David Eggen, says the significant find expands our understanding and knowledge of horned dinosaurs.
Regaliceratops is roughly the size of a large SUV, and weighs about 1.5 tonnes, with a large horn nose and small secondary horns above the eyes.
The most distinguishing feature is its large, sharp-edge, akin-to a-shield frill, the largest recorded among dinosaurs of its variety.
Calgary geologist, Peter Hews in 2005 first saw the fossil when a piece of bone protruded from a cliff that overlooks Oldman River.
Scientists Dr. Caleb Brown and Dr. Donald Henderson of Royal Tyrrell Museum completed the specimen inspection, one of the most impressive discovery since the Triceratops.
“While the palaeontological community is constantly finding new dinosaurs, they are often represented by only small fragments of a skeleton, which can make it hard to imagine what they looked like,” said Dr. Brown. “ With “Hellboy,” there is a huge, nearly complete skull of a very distinct new animal, and visitors to the Museum will be the first to see it on display, It wasn’t easy to get the dinosaur out of the ground either. The find was deep inside a steep riverside cliff over a bull trout spawning ground.”
Bull trout are a protected specimen in Alberta, so Brown’s team had to take extra care not to knock dirt into the water.
Once extracted, the fossil was encased in solid rock that took almost 1 year and a half of backbreaking work to uncover.
The skull forms part of the display at the Royal Tyrrell’s Fossils in Focus exhibit opened on June 4.