These days, very few fossils of prehistoric dinosaurs are found throughout the world. But every once in a while, entirely new sets of bones are unearthed, giving scientists the chance to examine possible new species.
Back in 2012, a group of paleontologists from Colorado found a small dinosaur skeleton near the Judith River Formation, Montana. Michael Triebold, founder of the Triebold Paleontology Inc. told CBS News that they really found something special. Triebold has worked in the paleontology field for 30 years, but not very frequently he and his team discover new species of dinosaurs.
The triceratops-like skeleton was found almost as a complete set, which is rare in the case of such small fossils. Even more, the researchers also found some soft skin tissue that survived the time. They also found some carnivore-like teeth, but the possibility that this dinosaur was a scavenger is fairly small.
Paleontologists used laser scanning followed by 3D printing in order to fill in the missing parts. The reconstruction of the skeleton took scientists about three years, but now, thanks to the advancements in technology, they have successfully created a real-scale replica.
Triebold joked “is really a cute dinosaur, if dinosaurs can be cute.” Indeed, the dinosaur looks like a mini triceratops, only without the nose horn, and much more cuter. The paleontologist said that they decided to call the dinosaur “Ava,” since it looks a bit similar to a long-tailed close relative of triceratops called Avaceratops. We used used the best ceratopsian specialist in the world to make sure we weren’t barking up the wrong tree,” declared Triebold.
The baby dinosaur, is thought to be 75 million years old, and the scientists estimate that she was about 3 years old when she died. According to the team of paleontologists, there is no other dinosaur like it in the world. About 80% of the skull was found in Montana, but the scientists are certain that the dinosaur had no nose horn, therefore it cannot be considered a triceratops.
The baby dinosaur has yet to receive a name in the scientific community. Her skeleton was unveiled this Wednesday at the Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Center in Woodland Park, Colorado.
This was not the first new dinosaur discovery in the state of Montana. In fact, paleontologists had excavated seven dinosaurs in the last two decades in the region, of which four of them were Brachylophosaurus skeletons.
Photo Credits wikipedia