Thursday, June 19, 2014 – An interesting and ornate new herbivorous dinosaur from the late Cretaceous has been announced by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Mercuriceratops, meaning ‘Mercury horned-face,’ features a pronounced angel wing-like ornamentation on its head, resembling the wings on the helmet of the Roman god, Mercury.

“Mercuriceratops took a unique evolutionary path that shaped the large frill on the back of its skull into protruding wings like the decorative fins on classic 1950s cars. It definitively would have stood out from the herd during the Late Cretaceous,” said lead author Dr. Michael Ryan, curator of vertebrate paleontology at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Specimens were found in north central Montana and the Dinosaur Provincial Park, in Alberta, Canada. Per the press release, “research describing the new species is published online in the journal Naturwissenschaften.” The new dinosaur is described from skull fragments and is estimated to weigh 2 tons and measure approximately 20 ft in length.

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Meet Mercuriceratops gemini

New Horned Dinosaur Reveals Unique 'Angel Wing' Headgear

Artist reconstruction of Mercuriceratops gemini, a new species of horned dinosaur that had wing-like ornamentation on the sides of its skull. Courtesy Danielle Dufault

New Horned Dinosaur Reveals Unique 'Angel Wing' Headgear

Mercuriceratops gemini skull fossils from the right side of the frill. Courtesy Naturwissenschaften

New Horned Dinosaur Reveals Unique 'Angel Wing' Headgear

Mercuriceratops gemini (center) compared to horned dinosaurs Centrosaurus (left) and Chasmosaurus (right), also from the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, Canada. Courtesy Danielle Dufault


New Horned Dinosaur Reveals Unique 'Angel Wing' Headgear

Quarry in Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, Canada, where Mercuriceratops gemini skull fossils were discovered. Courtesy Philip J. Currie

New Horned Dinosaur Reveals Unique 'Angel Wing' Headgear

Map indicating locations where Mercuriceratops gemini skull fossils were discovered. Courtesy Naturwissenschaften