Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mister Mojoceratops

Mister Mojoceratops

Mister Mojoceratops

Got to keep on ceratops

. . . or words to that effect.

Mojoceratops perifania is a new ceratopsian dinosaur discovered by Yale postdoctoral associate Nicholas Longrich in the basement of the America History Museum in New York. The fossil had been excavated decades earlier, but was incorrectly identified as a different kind of dinosaur.

Most museums have large specimen collections, only about 5% of which are publicly displayed. There have been many cases in which new species were discovered among old material in such collections. My favorite such incident involves another Yale researcher, John Ostrom, whose revolutionary theory that birds are descended from dinosaurs was inspired when he found a skeleton of Archaeopteryx that had been misidentified as a pterodactyl in a Dutch museum in 1970.

If Longrich is poking around in the basement of the American Museum of Natural History, maybe he can find Amphicoelias fragillimus.

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