Newly Discovered Horned Dinosaur Had Spiked Shield-like Head Frill

Posted on May 18, 2016

Spiclypeus shipporum drawing

A newly discovered species of horned dinosaur had horns and spikes that researchers are calling "audacious." The dinosaur had a large spike shield-like feature on its skull. It also had sideways protruding horns over its eyes.

The dinosaur has been named Spiclypeus shipporum. Spiclypeus means "spiked shield" in Latin. The second portion aof the name is The fossil was nicknamed Judith after honors the Shipp family on whose land the fossil was found near Winifred, Montana by Dr. Bill Shipp. the Judith River geological formation in Montana where it was found. The fossilized skull, part of the legs, hips and backbone were discovered in a silty hillside that once formed an ancient floodplain.

Spiclypeus shipporum skull


Judith had a painful injury and likely walked with a hobble or a limp. This is shown in the artist's illustration above. Judith's upper arm bone (humerus) showed distinct signs of arthritis and bone infection. The researchers believe the dinosaur lived to maturity and it was at least ten years old when it died.

Jordan Mallon, the lead author of the study from the Canadian Museum of Nature, says in a statement, "This is a spectacular new addition to the family of horned dinosaurs that roamed western North America between 85 and 66 million years ago. It provides new evidence of dinosaur diversity during the Late Cretaceous period from an area that is likely to yield even more discoveries."

A research paper on the horned dinosaur can be found here in the journal, PLOS One.

Illustration: Mike Skrepnick
Photo: Martin Lipman / Canadian Museum of Nature.