Canadian researchers have discovered fossils of a new horned dinosaur species which perished 72.5 million years ago.
The discovery has been made the famous Pipestone Creek bone-bed near the town of Grande Prairie in Alberta province. The researchers say they made the discovery in the form of a herd of dinosaurs which had a bony frill on the back of their skull, ornamented with smaller horns.
The species also had large bony structures above it nose and eyes, leading the researchers to call it pachyrhinosaur or thick-nosed lizard.
Alberta University paleontologist Philip Currie and his fellow researchers published their discovery Wednesday under the title of `A New Horned Dinosaur from an Upper Cretaceous Bone Bed in Alberta.'
Currie, who is known for his work on dinosaurs, said, ``The preservation of the (bone) material is outstanding and was easy to collect. The number of bones, from all age groups, made complex investigations possible regarding behaviour and growth patterns (of dinosaurs).''
He said the bone-bed site contains an abundance of fossils from young and old dinosaurs which will help researchers decipher individual growth patterns.
It will also help them ``investigate the possibility of sexual dimorphism and hypothesize on a herding lifestyle (of dinosaurs),'' he said.
The discovery of the new species, added Currie, will also give researchers more data for a better understanding of the ancient life and ecosystems in this part of Canada millions of years ago.
This dinosaur site was found in 1974 by Al Lakusta, a science teacher at the nearby town of Grande Prairie. His excavations and studies led to later large-scale search for dinosaur remains in the bone-bed.
To honour him, the new dinosaur species has been named pachyrhinosaur lakustai.
The site is being developed as the Pipestone Creek Dinosaur Project to become a world-class tourism, education and research centre.