Remember the interests and hobbies you had as a child? Most of us – and especially the young boys – had a thing for dinosaurs. And the rest of the world occasionally gets entertained by new researches and discoveries about dinosaurs, the oldest mammals, known to humans, to have inhabited planet earth.
That’s partially why the movie Jurassic Park was such a success and it’s also partially the reason why a second similar remake is on the way (but that’s a different story so until the movie is released be patient).
To get to the point, the scientists who were undertook the task to dig out the impressive fossil of a dinosaur who was named “Hellboy” (you’ll understand why in a bit) had to do a very painful work to complete the task. The dinosaur was retrieved from the hard limestone on the banks of a river, where he had been lying for 68 million years. The result was very interesting so the hard work paid away and was worth the trouble.
The Canadian scientists described yesterday one of the most special horned dinosaurs that have ever been discovered. It was truly a monster that had two exotic horns on its forehead and spikes around a bony, wrinkled projection at the back of its skull.
Caleb Brown, a palaeontologist of the Royal Museum of palaeontology in Alberta said: “This new dinosaur that was discovered is definitely one of the most peculiar horned dinosaurs. You can understand how special it is when you compare this creature to its close relatives”.
Now let’s see why it is called Hellboy. The official name that was given is Regaliceratops Perehewsi. The first half basically means “royal horned face” while the second half (the last name, one could say) is the full name of Peter Hews, the geologist who made this extraordinary discovery. However the nickname Hellboy is because the stubby horns above its eyes reminded everyone of Hellboy, the famous comics and movies hero. At the same time this nickname serves as one more purpose as it implies the hell that the scientists went through to retrieve the dinosaur from a rock that was “hard as the devil”.
As the palaeontologist Donald Henderson revealed the dinosaur had been given a different name before but it was politically unorthodox. He stated: “The first name we gave him was politically unorthodox but with a lot of effort we managed to stop using it after a few months”.
Hellboy had a size similar to that of today’s rhinos. It was 1.5 meters long and weighted approximately a tone and a half. “Imagine the Hellboy as an enormous SUV”, said Brown.
The fossil was first found in 2005 on the Oldman river which is on the southwest Alberta and it was actually found thanks to its snout that protruded from the rock. Its head had been preserved in all 3 dimensions which is impressive, considering that in most fossils that are found the head has been compressed.
The palaeontologists found almost the entire skull but not the rest of the animal’s skeleton.
Their research has been published to the Current Biology journal.