NewsA new dinosaur. Excavation reveals Lokiceratops, a horned giant of Montana

A new dinosaur. Excavation reveals Lokiceratops, a horned giant of Montana

A new species of dinosaur? What is known about Lokiceratops?
A new species of dinosaur? What is known about Lokiceratops?
Images source: © Getty Images | Jordi Salas

7:44 AM EDT, June 22, 2024

During excavations in the United States, a likely new dinosaur species was discovered. It was named after the Norse god Loki. What is known about Lokiceratops?

Archaeologists reported the probable discovery of a new dinosaur species. An article published in the journal "PeerJ" reveals that a skull and skeleton were discovered during excavations on private land in Kennedy Coulee, in northern Montana. Lokiceratops was an herbivore. Its snout had two impressive horns, which reminded researchers of the Norse god Loki.

Researchers compared the dinosaur's horns to those of reindeer, adding that in Lokiceratops' case, they were significantly more impressive. The archaeologists who made the discovery stated that the horns of this newly discovered species are "the largest and most ornate" found on any dinosaur to date.

Paleontologist Mark Loewen in "PeerJ" noted that it is increasingly likely that the horns were ornamental. They were meant "to attract mates or intimidate rivals of the same species."

Lokiceratops is likely the fifth species belonging to the Ceratops family. Paleontologists estimate it lived 78 million years ago, exclusively in North America.

Lokiceratops impressed with its size

Although Lokiceratops shows significant similarities to specimens found in Montana and neighboring Alberta, Canada, it appears to have been about 20 percent larger.

"This is one of the most exciting dinosaurs I've had the privilege of working on. So it has one of the neatest arrays of horns, and spikes along the edge of its frill, including the largest share of horns ever seen along the edge of a frill, and it's also the largest member of its group of horned dinosaurs -- one of the largest ever found in North America," said Dr. Joseph Sertich of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in an interview with ABC News.
This is what Lokiceratops might have looked like.
This is what Lokiceratops might have looked like.© X

The Danish Museum of Evolution, where the fossilized parts of the dinosaur are currently housed, reports that this is the largest skull found on Earth to date. However, some researchers suggest that we might be dealing not with a new species but a descendant of Medusaceratops, which underwent evolution.

Skull of Lokiceratops
Skull of Lokiceratops© X
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