News / Edmonton

Hannah the dinosaur: Alberta researcher finds new dino, names after dog

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever found.”

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Researchers have found a new species of dinosaur in the Alberta badlands, and it's one that could fill an evolutionary gap in a family of horny headed creatures.

Scott Persons, a palaeontologist at the University of Alberta, found the specimen, nicknamed Hannah.

He said it has a mostly intact skull — a rare find in itself.

But while its clearly a member of the Ceratopsian family, a four legged group of dinosaurs known for their elaborate facial horns, Persons said it blurs the line between two known species, showing characteristics of both.

“We need to figure exactly where this critter where this bizarre mismatch of traits actually fits,” He said. “What it will tell us about the evolution of dinosaurs is yet to be determined which is actually kind of cool.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever found.”

The skull was found upright, as if the animal had died resting its chin on the ground. As the person to find it, Persons got the chance to name it, and he dubbed it Hannah after his dog, who often accompanies him on digs.

The skull was excavated and removed last year. It was airlifted out by helicopter because as Person’s said, the dinosaur “is about as big as an Alberta pickup — with an extended cab.”

The team returned this year to work on the skeleton, a dig that will be completed next field season.

While there’s lots of work to be done yet, Persons said its likely part of it will one day be accessible to the public.

“We know its going to be great as a museum display because its just a gorgeous skull.”

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