What You Get When You Name a New Dinosaur Over Beers: Mojoceratops

By Joseph Calamia | July 8, 2010 3:04 pm

Meet Mojoceratops, the newly discovered dinosaur with the best head stylings of the Late Cretaceous. A lover–scientists suspect he used his flamboyant frill to attract mates–Mojoceratops lived 75 million years ago, about 10 million years earlier than his more conservatively coiffed cousin, Triceratops.

mojo

Mojoceratops owes his name to a few beers. As described in a Yale University press release, Yale post-doc Nicholas Longrich blurted it out one night while throwing a few back with fellow paleontologists:

“It was just a joke, but then everyone stopped and looked at each other and said, ‘Wait–that actually sounds cool’…. I tried to come up with serious names after that, but Mojoceratops just sort of stuck.”

With an article published today in the Journal of Paleontology, the name went down on the books.

Longrich first found Mojoceratops in 2008 while digging through the American Museum of Natural History’s fossil collection. He noted that some skulls, that were believed to belong to a species called Chasmosaurus, looked “wrong.” For one, they had horns that were too long. Investigating at other museums, the distinctive heart-shaped frill also popped up in collections in western Canada. In total, he uncovered eight partial skulls.

Apparently, Mojo couldn’t survive on good looks alone. Longrich suspects that the hippo-sized herbivore roamed Canada’s Alberta and Saskatchewan provinces for only about one million years. Maybe he looked good enough to eat. Squinting at the picture above, does anyone else think chocolate bunny?

mojoskull

Related content:
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Discoblog: Will Jurassic Park Ever Really Come True?
80beats: Dinosaurs Ruled the World Because They “Got Lucky,” Say Scientists

Image: Nicholas Longrich / Yale University

  • Josh

    Shouldn’t that be 75 million years ago, not 75,000 million years ago?

  • Joseph Calamia

    You are right, Josh. Apologies. I must have been distracted by his frill. It’s fixed now. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/ChrisLindsay9 CW

    They were drinking the wrong liquor…it should be Tequilaceratops. Much better name.

  • Zach Miller

    I love that picture. Nick does such great cartoony drawings of his dinosaurs.

  • http://life-on-mars.spaces.live.com/ Will

    If it’s named after the beer I think it is (Boulder Beer’s Mojo), than it’s a perfect name from a great beer!

  • Mike

    The rabbit fossil reminds me of the rabbit mask from the movie, ‘Donnie Darko’

  • MathMike

    If your dinosaur collection is missing a ‘ceratops named after Mojo Nixon, then it needs fixin’ !!

  • http://ranggaw0636.student.ipb.ac.id/ ranggaw0636

    It’s one hell of acute dinosaurs LOL

  • http://www.clickfive.net Eli Herth

    It seems that i have learn something today :) thanks for that :)

  • http://www.beercollege.net Home Brewing Beer

    Good info. Just posted on our Twitter.

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