dinosaur museum

September 2015 Newsletter

The kid’s are back in school and you just might have a little free time to do a few things you did not get a chance to do during the busy summmer. Why not come and see what is new at the museum, take a tour, walk leisurely through all the exhibits and visit our great gift shop for some unhurried early holiday shopping. Walk through our town, visit some of our shops, have a quiet lunch, collect your thoughts and RELAX! Woodland Park is absolutely gorgous this time of year and you deserve to do something for YOU!
Scientists have discovered a new species of horned dinosaur based on fossils collected from a bone bed in southern Alberta, Canada. Wendiceratops pinhornensis was about 20 feet long and weighed more than a ton. It lived about 79 million years ago, making it one of the oldest known members of the family of large bodied horned dinosaurs that includes Triceratops. Dr. Michael Ryan and Dr. David Evans co-authored this study and both described the find.

Over 200 bones representing the remains of at least four dinosaurs (three adults and one juvenile) were collected. Its most distinctive feature is a series of forward curling hook-like horns along the margin of the wide, shield-like frill that projects from the back of its skull. The new find ranks among other recent discoveries in having some of the most spectacular skull ornamentation in the horned dinosaur group. Dr. David Evans says, “Wendiceratops helps us understand the early evolution of skull ornamentation in a group of dinosaurs characterized by their horned faces.” The wide frill is ringed by numerous curled horns, the nose had a large, upright horn, and it is likely there were horns over the eyes also. The number of frill projections and horns makes it one of the most striking horned dinosaurs ever found. Neck frills and horns were probably used to communicate with and intimidate other dinosaurs. They may have had pushing matches with their horns like antelopes and sheep of today. Although the complete shape of the nasal bone is unknown, it is clear that it was a upright nasal horncore. This represents the earliest documented occurrence of a tall nose horn in Ceratopsia.

The name means “Wendy’s horned-face” and celebrates Alberta fossil hunter Wendy Sloboda, who discovered the site in 2010. This is a well deserved honor for Ms. Sloboda, who has discovered hundreds of important fossils in the last 30 years, including several new species. Ms. Sloboda splits her time between fossil hunting and sports photography.

Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum  is scheduled for a Sept. 26, 2015 grand opening.  Canada’s newest world class museum will offer helicopter tours over one of the world’s most concentrated bone-bed sites. The 15 minute ride will showcase aerial views of the museum, Pipestone Creek and Wapiti River, and go through heavily wooded terrain to the mass grave site of dinosaurs buried millions of years ago. Spread across the size of a football field, two catastrophic floods millions of years ago created a mass grave where over 3000 bones have so far been recovered from an estimated hundreds of dinosaur herds. It is also the site that revealed the first co-occurrence of insects in amber and dinosaur fossils that inspired many Hollywood blockbusters. Numerous footprints and skin impressions have been discovered, indicating that multiple dinosaur species frequented the region, including unnamed carnivorous ones related to Velociraptors.Geri Lebold
Eduacation Director

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