Colorado paleontologists help discover new dinosaur species - Mercuriceratops gemini

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. - A discovery seven years ago by a team of paleontologists from Colorado has led to a new dinosaur species called Mercuriceratops gemini.

It's believed the dinosaur lived 77 million years ago.

A skull bone from the Mercuriceratops was first discovered in Montana in 2007.  At the time, paleontologist Dr. Kraig Derstler with Triebold Paleontology of Colorado made a sketch that noted questions about the bone.

"There was obviously something different about the cheek-bone region of this skull element, which Dr. Derstler labeled with a pair of question marks (??) in his sketch," said Mike Triebold, president of Triebold Paleontology.

Triebold Paleontology collects, prepares, replicates, and distributes natural history exhibit components to museums around the world including the museum it owns, the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center in Woodland Park.

"Scientists would mull over those unique cheeks for half-a-decade before another specimen turned up bearing the same previously unprecedented feature, this time, in Canada's equivalently-aged Dinosaur Park Formation," Triebold said.

The second bone was found in 2012 in Alberta, Canada.

"It has a unique cheek feature that sets them apart from any other dinosaur like them around at the same time," said Triebold Paleontology spokesman Matt Christopher.

That led to the officially naming of the species in the June 2014 edition of of the German scientific journal, Naturwissenschaften.

The Mercuriceratops is the oldest known chasmosaurine ceratopsian in Canada.  It also represents the oldest known ceratopsid dinosaur of its kind to be found in both Canada and the US.

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