Move over, Big Sky and bison—Montana has a new star stealing the spotlight, and it’s been waiting 78 million years for its debut. KTHV in Helena reported on the latest find in Montana. Introducing Lokiceratops rangiformis, the latest dinosaur sensation discovered in the Treasure State’s own backyard.

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The Horned Wonder

The Natural History Museum of Utah recently revealed this prehistoric marvel, whose name translates to “Loki’s horned face that looks like a caribou.” It’s an homage to the Norse god Loki, famously known for his trickster ways in comic books, reflecting the dinosaur’s distinctive and dramatic horn pattern. If Loki had a pet dino, this would be it.

Unearthed in Montana’s Badlands

In 2019, paleontologists struck gold—or rather, ancient bones—in the rugged northern Badlands near the Canadian border. Their discovery has now been immortalized in the pages of the scientific journal PeerJ, cementing Lokiceratops as a significant find in the dinosaur world. The fossil itself is proudly displayed at the Natural History Museum of Utah, ready to awe visitors with its unique features.

A Peek into Prehistoric Swamps

Lokiceratops wasn’t just about looking fabulous with its extravagant headgear. This dinosaur roamed the lush swamps and floodplains of Laramidia, a land that existed more than 78 million years ago. According to Joseph Sertich, a co-leader of the study and a paleontologist with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Colorado State University, Lokiceratops sports the largest frill horns ever seen in ceratopsians, a group known for their ornate skulls.

“These skull ornaments are one of the keys to unlocking horned dinosaur diversity,” Sertich explained. “They demonstrate that evolutionary selection for showy displays contributed to the dizzying richness of Cretaceous ecosystems.”

A Dinosaur of Distinction

Lokiceratops isn’t just another face in the dinosaur crowd. Its elaborate horns and frill make it stand out as a testament to the creative forces of evolution. The discovery is a thrilling reminder of the hidden wonders waiting to be unearthed in Montana’s vast landscapes.

So, the next time you find yourself in the Badlands, keep an eye out—you never know what other ancient treasures might be lying beneath your feet. And if you’re in Utah, don’t miss the chance to meet Lokiceratops in person and marvel at the legacy of a creature that once strutted its stuff in prehistoric swamps with the flair of a Norse god.

In the ever-expanding saga of dinosaur discoveries, Lokiceratops rangiformis is a chapter filled with intrigue, horns, and a whole lot of prehistoric swagger.

Drawing of Lokiceratops rangiformis by Fabrizio Lavezza/The Museum of Evolution, Knuthenborg CC BY-NC-ND

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