‘Hellboy,’ the dinosaur with exotic horns, frill

‘Hellboy,’ the dinosaur with exotic horns, frill

‘Hellboy,’ the dinosaur with exotic horns, frill

The photos show the skull of a new horned dinosaur (L) and its artistic life reconstruction. Reuters Photo

Scientists had a heck of 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 the diabolic task proved gratifying. 

‘Hellboy,’ the dinosaur with exotic horns, frill The scientists on June 4 described one of the most unique horned dinosaurs ever discovered, a beast boasting an exotic set of facial horns and spines around the edge of the bony frill at the back its skull. 

“This new animal is definitely one of the weirdest horned dinosaurs,” said paleontologist Caleb Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta. “How weird it is really only becomes fully apparent when you compare it to its close relatives, in which case it stands out like a sore thumb.” 

They officially named it Regaliceratops peterhewsi, meaning “royal horned face” and honoring geologist Peter Hews, who found it. But they nicknamed it “Hellboy” because its stubby horns above the eyes resembled the comic-book character of the same name and because of the hellish time they had in painstakingly extricating it from what they called “evil hard rock.” 

Regaliceratops, similar in size to today’s largest rhinos, was estimated at 5 meters long, 1.5 meters tall at the hips, weighing about 1.5 tons. 

The fossil was found in 2005 along the Oldman River in southwestern Alberta, with the tip of the snout sticking out of the cliff. Rather than being squashed flat like many fossils, the skull was in remarkable three-dimensional preservation. Horned dinosaurs were a formidable group of Cretaceous Period plant-eaters.