FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2022
Albuquerque, NM- A team of paleontologists, including two from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (NMMNHS), has discovered a new species of horned dinosaur in 74-million-year-old rocks south of Farmington.
NMMNHS Curator Dr. Spencer Lucas and Research Associate Sebastian Dalman, along with Dr. Steven E. Jasinski from Harrisburg University, published an article in the latest edition of Bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science describing a new genus and species of horned dinosaur from New Mexico.
The team named the dinosaur Bisticeratops froeseorum (pronounced “Biss-tie-SAYR-uh-tops frose-e-or-um”), after the Bisti/De-na-zin Wilderness area where the fossil was collected, and for the Froese family of the musical group Tangerine Dream, one of Dalman’s favorite bands.
“Bisticeratops adds to the diversity of Late Cretaceous horned dinosaurs from New Mexico,” said Dr. Lucas. “It shows that important discoveries and analyses continue to be made in the state in our effort to understand better the history of dinosaurs during the last few million years before their extinction.”
Bisticeratops was a horned dinosaur, or ceratopsian, from the same group as the famous Triceratops, with an estimated body length of about 18 feet. This plant-eating dinosaur lived in the jungles and swamps near the seacoast that submerged what is now northwestern New Mexico 74 million years ago.
The fossil itself includes most of the skull of the dinosaur. The skull of Bisticeratops shows bite marks from a large predatory dinosaur, probably a tyrannosaur, although it is uncertain whether this was from active predation while Bisticeratops was alive or due to scavenging after it had died.
The discovery of Bisticeratops not only adds to New Mexico’s robust fossil record, but it adds to our understanding of horned dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous Period more broadly. Bisticeratops joins other recently described horned dinosaurs from New Mexico—Navajoceratops, Terminocavus and Sierraceratops—in identifying what looks like a unique fauna of horned dinosaurs that lived in New Mexico 73 to 75 million years ago.
These creatures appear to be distinct from the horned dinosaurs that lived in what is now Montana and Alberta, which indicates a degree of longitudinal variation among ceratopsians. Essentially, this discovery shows that the last few million years of ceratopsian evolution were more complex than previously known.
About the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Trustees of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation, through the generous support of donors. Established in 1986, the mission of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science is to preserve and interpret the distinctive natural and scientific heritage of our state through extraordinary collections, research, exhibits, and programs designed to ignite a passion for lifelong learning. The NMMNHS offers exhibitions, programs, and workshops in Geoscience, including Paleontology and Mineralogy, Bioscience, and Space Science. It is the Southwest’s largest repository for fossils and includes a Planetarium and a large format 3D DynaTheater.