Dinosaur named for 'Wendy's horned face'

Wendiceratops pinhornensis (Danielle Dufault)
Wendiceratops pinhornensis (Danielle Dufault)

If your name is Wendy, congratulations – you now have your very own dinosaur.

Wendiceratops pinhornensis, which means "Wendy's horned face", is a new species found in Canada.

The bones of three adults and a juvenile were found in a bonebed in Alberta. When fully grown, Wendiceratops was about 6m long and weighed more than a tonne.

It lived 79 million years ago, predating the well-known, similar horn-faced Triceratops by about 11 million years. This makes Wendiceratops one of the oldest Ceratopsidae dinosaurs found to date.

"Wendiceratops helps us understand the early evolution of skull ornamentation in an iconic group of dinosaurs characterised by their horned faces," says study co-author Dr David Evans of the University of Toronto.

"The wide frill of Wendiceratops is ringed by numerous curled horns, the nose had a large, upright horn, and it's likely there were horns over the eyes too. The number of gnarly frill projections and horns makes it one of the most striking horned dinosaurs ever found."

Wendiceratops is named for renowned fossil hunter Wendy Sloboda, who discovered the bonebed where it was found in 2010.

The full details were published today in journal PLOS ONE.

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