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Idle Science

Paleontologists Discover World's Horniest Dinosaur 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the overcompensatesaurus dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "The Guardian reports that paleontologists have uncovered the remains of an ancient beast called Kosmoceratops richardsoni that stood 16 feet tall with a 6-foot skull equipped with 15 horns and lived 76 million years ago in the warm, wet swamps of what is now southern Utah. 'These animals are basically over-sized rhinos with a whole lot more horns on their heads. They had huge heads relative to their body size,' says Scott Sampson, a researcher at the Utah Museum of Natural History."
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Paleontologists Discover World's Horniest Dinosaur

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  • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:41PM (#33670356) Homepage Journal

    There were elephants with four tusks, where the extra tusks offered virtually no advantage as far as anyone can tell. The horns on a dinosaur were of dubious defensive or offensive value and may well have been to improve cooling (greater surface area to radiate from) or for display. It would have made dealing with thick vegetation a problem - more ways to get tangled up. Ok, so if we go with improving cooling, in order to provide any serious advantage there has to be a significant source of heat that the triceratops did not face. Perhaps this dinosaur moved faster, or was more active in general.

    Ever since paleontologists discovered proteins inside dino bones and even found a fossil that partially preserved the colour of the skin, the understanding of dino lives has changed dramatically.

  • by zooblethorpe (686757) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:48PM (#33670424)

    I can only imagine what the reaction must have been when the team accidentally broke that T. rex femur -- probably going from "oh, shit" when it first broke, and then to a very different sort of "oh, shit!" when they realized it still had the marrow in it [google.com].

    Cheers,

  • by mbone (558574) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @07:59PM (#33670522)

    Jee, is everyone writing on the web 13 years old ?

  • by RaymondKurzweil (1506023) on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:23PM (#33670728) Journal

    Was Mexico kicked out for not being white enough or something?

  • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Wednesday September 22, 2010 @08:26PM (#33670752) Homepage Journal

    Oh yeah. And before anyone points out that people have suggested that the protein was contamination, there was enough to see things that looked suspiciously like blood vessels and the protein resembled what would be found in chicken bones - which the hollow T. Rex bone strongly resembled. Similar results were apparently found in other T. Rex bones, but owing to the extreme rarity of T. Rex fossils in the first place, never mind the extreme reluctance of museums to go sawing their prize pieces in half, it's unclear if this is ever going to be "reproducible" to the point of anyone's complete satisfaction. (Actually, MRI should be able to see through stone ok, so long as it's not iron-bearing.)

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling

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