A workforce of researchers on the University of Alberta has unearthed a well-preserved Styracosaurus skull—and its facial imperfections have implications for how paleontologists establish new species of dinosaurs.
The skull was found by Scott Individuals in 2015, then a graduate student within the Department of Biological Sciences, throughout an expedition within the badlands northwest of Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Nicknamed Hannah, the dinosaur was a Styracosaurus—a horned dinosaur over five meters in size with a fan of lengthy horns. UAlberta paleontologists, led by Robert Holmes, a professor within the Department of Biological Sciences, have discovered a lot from these horns—as a result of they are not symmetrical. When components of 1 aspect of the skull had been lacking, paleontologists have assumed that the lacking facet was symmetrical to the one which was preserved,” explained Persons.
The variations within the skull’s left and proper halves are so excessive that had the paleontologists discovered only isolated halves, they could have concluded that they belong to two totally different species. Just like the antlers of contemporary deer and moose, Hannah reveals that the sample of dinosaur horns might vary considerably—that means some fossils that had been as soon as assumed to be distinctive species should be reevaluated.
Regardless of the nickname, paleontologists don’t have any means of figuring out if the dinosaur was female. However, they’ve realized different particulars from the skull—from a partnership with researchers within the Faculty of Engineering. That is the future of paleontological collections: digital dinosaurs.”
The paper, “Morphological variation and asymmetrical growth within the skull of Styracosaurus Albertans are,” was revealed in Cretaceous Research.