NewsDiscovery of Lokiceratops: A dinosaur with Norse mythology ties

Discovery of Lokiceratops: A dinosaur with Norse mythology ties

A new dinosaur species? What is known about Lokiceratops?
A new dinosaur species? What is known about Lokiceratops?
Images source: © Getty Images | Jordi Salas
Anna Wajs-Wiejacka

22 June 2024 09:43

During excavations in the United States, archaeologists have uncovered what may be a new species of dinosaur, named after the Norse god Loki. So, what is known about Lokiceratops?

Archaeologists have reported the probable discovery of a new species of dinosaur. According to an article published in the journal "PeerJ", the skull and skeleton were discovered during excavations on private land in Kennedy Coulee, northern Montana. Lokiceratops was a herbivore. It had two impressive horns on its snout, which reminded researchers of the Norse god Loki.

Researchers compared the dinosaur's horns to those of reindeer, noting that in the case of Lokiceratops, the horns were decidedly more magnificent. The archaeologists who made the discovery highlighted that the horns of the newly discovered species are "the largest and most ornate" found in dinosaurs to date.

Paleontologist Mark Loewen, writing in "PeerJ", suggested that it is increasingly likely that the horns were ornamental. They were meant "to attract mates or intimidate rivals of the same species".

Lokiceratops is probably the fifth species belonging to the Ceratops family. Estimates from paleontologists suggest that it lived 78 million years ago solely in North America.

Lokiceratops amazed researchers with its size

Although Lokiceratops shows great similarity to specimens previously found in Montana and neighbouring Alberta, it appears to be even 20% larger.

This is one of the most exciting dinosaurs I've had the privilege of working on. So it has one of the neatest arrays of horns, and spikes along the edge of its frill, including the largest share of horns ever seen along the edge of a frill, and it's also the largest member of its group of horned dinosaurs -- one of the largest ever found in North America — said Dr. Joseph Sertich of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in an interview with ABC News.
This is how Lokiceratops might have looked.
This is how Lokiceratops might have looked.© X

The Danish Museum of Evolution, where the fossilised parts of the dinosaur are currently housed, reports that this is the largest skull found on Earth so far. However, some researchers suggest that we may be dealing not with a new species but with a descendant of Medusaceratops that has undergone evolution.

Skull of Lokiceratops
Skull of Lokiceratops© X
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