When it comes to paleontology, that old adage which goes something like leave no stones unturned does have its fair share of the truth. Leaving those ancestral stones unturned is certainly not beneficial to our understating to Earth’s early years of life.The dog-sized dinosaur earthed in China is just one of many examples that verify the validity of the bygone adage.
It is only befitting to state the discovery itself is not entirely new. In fact, the fossils recovered by an Americo-Chinese archeological team were discovered roughly 12 years ago. Since then, the earthly remains of the mysterious creature laid in a drawer, locked away from sight, never to be heard from again.
In order to see why this discovery has been hidden away from the eyes if the world, we should take a little trip back in time. In 2002, an archeological team dispatched to do a little digging in the Shishugou Formation, discovered a couple of fossils belonging to the Yinlong downsi, one of Triceratops’s distant cousins. The beast was roughly the size of a modern sheep and featured a couple of unusual characteristics. The dinosaur was a herbivore that did a lot of running around using its highly-developed and muscular hind legs. Also, the miniature Triceratops had a beak-like jaw, very similar to a parrot’s beak.
Among the Yinlong downsi fossils recovered from the digging site, there are several other that were not like the other. The Yinlong downsi team of scientists recovered from the same digging site few fragments of an odd-shaped skull and several remain which they thought that were its hind legs. No further inquired were made as to the nature of the beast that left behind so interesting vestiges.
Years upon years have passed until someone came to vindicate this bygone majestic beast. Fenglu Han, a scientist working for the China’s University of Geosciences. While working on the remains of a sheep-sized dinosaur, the scientist literally stumbled upon these fragments.
Upon close analysis, he has discovered that the fossils presented certain peculiarities, not consistent with a dinosaur from the Yinlong downsi species. According to his description of the reconstructed model, the dinosaur had the size of a medium-sized dog. Moreover, the skull displayed multiple bony protuberances are all over its surface. The new species of dinosaur was named Hualianceratops wucaiwanensis, which roughly translated as „ornamental face”. As to the actual function of these bony outgrowths, scientists could only speculate. Some of them tend to agree that the bony and gnarled skull surface serves as a protection to the multiple blood vessels than run through the face area.