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Horned Xenoceratops fossil found in Alberta, Canada, oldest ever discovered

The newly discovered Xenoceratops roamed the Earth about 80 million years ago and is the largest horned reptile to have ever been discovered in North America.

XenoceratopsEnlarge
Xenoceratops fossils found by paleontologists in Canada is the largest horned animal to have ever roamed North America. (Julius Csotonyi/Courtesy)

The fossils of a two-ton horned dinosaur was found by paleontologists in Alberta, Canada recently.

The newly discovered Xenoceratops roamed the Earth about 80 million years ago and is the largest horned reptile to have ever been discovered in North America.

This is not the first Xenoceratops to be found in the Canadian province but experts say that it is likely the oldest.

"In terms of large-bodied ones that look like Triceratops, this is definitely the oldest," said study author and biologist Michael Ryan, according to LiveScience.

Ryan said that the new finding is something new as the fossil shows just how much the species evolved.

“Starting 80 million years ago, the large-bodied horned dinosaurs in North America underwent an evolutionary explosion,” Ryan said, reported PostMedia News.

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“Xenoceratops shows us that even the geologically oldest ceratopsids had massive spikes on their head shields and that their cranial ornamentation would only become more elaborate as new species evolved.”

The Xenoceratops is similar to its relative the Triceratops, which lived millions of years later, but the former seems to have had more horns.

It is believed that the dinosaur was a herbivore that had an almost parrot-like beak.

National Geographic said that the scientists believe that the Xenoceratops was about 20 feet long and weighed more than 2 tons.

The name Xenoceratops comes from the ancient Greek "xenos," meaning foreign, and "ceratops," meaning horned face.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/121109/horned-xenoceratops-fossil-found-alberta-canada-oldest-ever-discovered