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While drinking usually does not mesh with focus-intensive occupations such as operating heavy machinery, a post-doctoral student recently discovered that paleontology and libations are a fine combination. Joseph Calamia at Discover reports that Yale post-doc Nicholas Longrich dubbed a newly discovered dinosaur "Mojoceratops" while boozing with some fellow paleontologists. Why Mojoceratops? The recently-discovered skeleton of a triceratops-like dinosour boasts "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," quips Calamia.
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
"Longrich blurted it out one night while throwing a few back with fellow paleontologists," writes Calamia. "With an article published today in the Journal of Paleontology, the name went down on the books."
Discover isn't the only magazine having a field day with the name. Mother Jones (affectionately referred to as "MoJo" by its staffers and readers) is having a field day with the association:
Mojoceratops! RT @DiscoverMag: What do you get when you name a new dinosaur over beers? Crazy-looking "MoJoceratops." http://bit.ly/c6Jtzh
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