Speed Reads

Discoveries

Scientists discover oldest horned North American dinosaur species in Montana

Scientists discover oldest horned North American dinosaur species in Montana

Scientists have discovered the first definite horned dinosaur species in North America, and it's all thanks to a skull they found in Montana.

Andrew Farke and his colleagues at the Raymond Alf Museum of Paleontology describe their findings in a newly published study in the journal PLOS ONE. The species, Aquilops americanus, is an important discovery because the next horned dinosaur species from North America didn't live for roughly another 20 million years.

The Montana skull, which is just 84 millimeters long, has a beak-like, hooked structure. The researchers estimate the dinosaur was roughly the size of a crow. Farke notes that the skull resembles those of Asian horned dinosaurs, suggesting an "intercontinental migratory event between Asia and North America."

The research will allow scientists to better understand the evolution of horned dinosaurs, which have remained, for the most part, a mystery, thanks to a limited amount of fossils. The skull will be housed at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.