'Hellboy' dinosaur discovered in Canada
Scientists had a tough a time getting the remarkable fossil of a dinosaur they dubbed 'Hellboy' out of the hard limestone along a Canadian river bank where it was entombed for 68 million years - but it was worth it.
The scientists this week described one of the most unusual horned dinosaurs ever discovered, a beast boasting an exotic set of facial horns and spines around the edge of a bony frill at the back its skull.
They called it Hellboy, and not just for the two horns sticking out over its eyes. The skull from the new species of dinosaur did have cranial similarities to the famous comic book and movie character, but it was where it was found that really earned it the nickname.
'The Hellboy nickname is because of all the problems with the excavation,' said Caleb Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.
The 1.6-metre skull was found only about a metre above the water along southern Alberta's Oldman River, a waterline that fluctuates widely over the seasons. As well as incredibly hard rock, it was on a steep cliff, prone to dangerous rockfalls.
Not only is Hellboy - or Regaliceratops peterhewsi - a completely new species, it is spectacular, reports the Huffington Post.
Part of a family that includes the iconic Triceratops, Hellboy has the longest nose horn of any of those three-horned monsters, up to 28 centimetres long.
And while Brown calls the horns over Hellboy's eyes 'almost comically short,' the dinosaur did sport a massive, bony shield protecting its neck and shoulders. That shield featured a row of large, triangular bony plates along its edge, giving it the appearance of a crown.