Fragments of a fossilized skull collected nearly a century ago have been identified as a new species of dinosaur. The fossils sat in obscurity in The Natural History Museum of London after they were collected by a father and son pair in southern Alberta, Canada in 1916. Recently, researchers rediscovered the fossils and realized that they belonged to a new species, which was named Spinops sternbergorum in honor of the fossil collectors.
“I was amazed to learn the story behind these specimens, and how they went unstudied for so long,” said Andrew Farke, the curator of paleontology at the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont, California, and lead author on the study that described Spinops.
“This study highlights the importance of museum collections for understanding the history of our planet,” Farke continued. “My colleagues and I were pleasantly surprised to find these fossils on the museum shelf, and even more astonished when we determined that they were a previously unknown species of dinosaur.”