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Dino Unearthed: New horned dinosaur part of ROM exhibit

01/22/2015 12:08 EST | Updated 03/24/2015 05:59 EDT
The public will get its first look at the fossils of a new species of dinosaur — a cousin of the Triceratops — when a new exhibit opens at the Royal Ontario Museum on Saturday.

Dino Unearthed will join other dinosaurs on display on the second floor of the Toronto museum.

The unnamed dinosaur is a member of the horned dinosaur Ceratopsidae family, which includes the Triceratops. Researchers say the dinosaur lived 79 million years ago in what is now the Milk River badlands of southern Alberta.

It reached approximately seven metres in length and 1.5 metres in height, and weighed roughly 2000 kilograms. It was believed to be a herbivore.

It is among the most ornamented of the armoured dinosaurs in its family — meaning the arrangement of the horns on its face and back differs from the Triceratops and others.

The bones were found by fossil finder Wendy Sloboda in 2010. It took three years to excavate the fossil, which was completed by the ROM's Dr. David Evans and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Dr. Michael Ryan.

The fossils on display are replicas of the real fossils, made with the use of a 3D printer. The team did not actually find an intact dinosaur, but pieced together the fossils from three different dinosaurs. When bones were not present, they were taken from the nearest known relative and substituted in. When bones were only present on one side of the dinosaur's body, the team did a mirror image construction to make the adjacent bone.

This discovery is the latest for the Southern Alberta Dinosaur Project, which has introduced six new species to Canada’s list of dinosaurs in the last five years.

There is a contest to give the new dinosaur a nickname at dinohuntcanada.ca. 

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