12.04.2012 - Natural Sciences Sector

Meet UNESCOceratops!

© Julius T. Csotonyi An illustration of Unescoceratops koppelhusae, a plant-eating dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period that lived approximately 75 million years ago.

Scientists from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History recently identified two new species of dinosaurs, one of which they have named in honor of UNESCO.

Unescoceratops is a genus of leptoceratopsid ceratopsian dinosaurs known from the Late Cretaceous (about 76.5-75 million years ago) of Alberta, Canada. Unescoceratops is thought to have been between one and two meters long and less than 91 kilograms. A plant-eater, its teeth were the roundest of all Leptocertopsids.

The fossil that led to its discovery was found in 1995 in in Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further research by The Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Michael Ryan and David Evans of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto recently determined that the specimen was a new genus and species.

The genus is named to honor the UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for the locality where the specimen was found and from the Greek “ceratops,” which means 'horned face'. Dr Michael Ryan explained that he meant to honor UNESCO's efforts to increase understanding of natural history sites around the world.

Located at the heart of Alberta's badlands, Dinosaur Provincial Park contains some of the most important fossil discoveries ever made from the 'Age of Reptiles', unmatched in terms of the number and variety of high quality specimens, over 60 of which represent more than 45 genera and 14 families of dinosaurs. The Park is an outstanding example of major geological processes and fluvial erosion patterns in semi-arid steppes.

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