Wendiceratops pinhorniensis: Wendy's Horned Dinosaur of Alberta, Canada

by DerdriuMarriner

Wendiceratops pinhorniensis honors fossil-hunter and photographer Wendy Sloboda's discovery of a horned dinosaur skull fragment in Alberta, Canada.

Wendy's horned dinosaur enjoyed Canada's vegetation-rich Cretaceous floodplains

Dinosaurs are extinct animals whose discovered remains and uncovered traces consistently constitute front-page news. One such discovery brings closure to horned dinosaur life cycles and natural histories and honor to the species’ 79,000,000-year-old cemetery and twenty-first century discoverer, fossil-hunter and photographer Wendy Sloboda. Scientists consider Wendiceratops pinhorniensis, Wendy’s horned-face, Pinhorn Provincial Grazing Reserve-dweller, pivotal in understanding herbivorous (plant-eating) sustainability and niche adaptability of centrosaurine (pointed lizard, from Greek κέντρον, kentron, “point” or “prickle” and σαῦρος, sauros, “lizard”) ceratopsids (horned face-bearers, from Greek κέρας, keras, “horn” and ὤψ, ops, “face”) with:
• back-jawed shearing teeth;
• hippo-sized bodies;
• hornlet-margined, rectangle-shaped, short-sized, spiny-backed frills;
• nasal horns; and
• parrot-like beaks.


Website: https://www.rom.on.ca/en/exhibitions-galleries/exhibitions/dino-hunt


Wendiceratops pinhornensis skeleton was discovered in Pinhorn Provincial Grazing Reserve in bonebed informally named South Side Ceratopsian bonebed in reference to location south of Milk River:

yellow line = approximate level of bonebed at base of hill
Pinhorn Provincial Grazing Reserve, southeastern Alberta, western Canada
Pinhorn Provincial Grazing Reserve, southeastern Alberta, western Canada

Wendy's horned dinosaur foreshadowed Triceratops by 10,000,000+ years


The discovery derives from globe-trotting, paleontology-trained photographer Wendy Sloboda recognizing in 2010 the distinct bone texture of an 11.81-inch (30-centimeter) fragment from a horned dinosaur skull amid Milk River-area rocks on the south Canadian side of the province of Alberta’s border with the United States of America at Montana. Artistic reconstructions for in-print and on-line access and a museum model for Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum visitors exist five years later, thanks to three years of digging by teams supervised by species-naming paleontologists David Evans of the Royal Ontario Museum and Michael Ryan of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. They find their basis in 200+ bones from one juvenile and three adults anciently killed by monsoonal floods. 


Locality map of southern Alberta with location of Wendiceratops pinhornensis indicated with star (bottom right)

southeastern Alberta, western Canada
southeastern Alberta, western Canada

Wendy's horned dinosaur grew to weigh a ton!


Scientists give as bio-geographical contemporaries of Wendy’s horned dinosaurs:

  • armored dinosaurs (Anklyosauria suborder);
  • crocodiles (Crocodylinae subfamily);
  • duck-billed dinosaurs (Hadrosauridae family);
  • turtles (Testudines order); and
  • tyrannosaurs (Tyrannosauroidea superfamily).

But they have non-carnivorous (meat-eating) compilations to offer when reconstructing feeding chains and food webs for Wendy’s horned dinosaurs. It indeed is the species’ leaf-shaped dental formula that defines horned dinosaur diets in the coastal plains alongside ancient Alberta’s interior seaway from the Cretaceous Period’s high-level seas, low-level inland waters, and worldwide warmth of 66,000,000 to 146,000,000 years ago. Head-top, inward-curving frill-bones apparently join forehead- and nose-based, large-sized horns for intra-gender competition and intra-herd communication.

Distinctive face- and head-bones keynote independently similar, subsequent developments in Triceratops of 68,000,000 years ago. 


Skeletal reconstruction of Wendiceratops pinhornensis, with elements from bonebed indicated in blue:

The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto currently displays a full-sized Wendiceratops skeleton.
Skeletal reconstruction of Wendiceratops pinhornensis
Skeletal reconstruction of Wendiceratops pinhornensis

Wendy's horned dinosaur had 98.43+-foot (30+-meter) long bodies


This oldest known of horned dinosaurs leads the list of Wendy’s discoveries. But previous finds by Wendy still make lists of archaeological and paleontological breakthroughs with:

  • dinosaur, skin-impressed footprints near St. Mary’s River in Magrath during 1987;
  • excrement of Tyrannosaurus Rex in eastern Saskatchewan during the 1990s;
  • fossil of Cretaceous Period-dated turtle and turtle eggs in southern Alberta during the 1990s; and
  • legless burrowing lizard from Mongolia’s Cretaceous Period in 2000.

A species being named after a person numbers among science’s expressions of gratitude and honor. Such recognition actually occurs two times already for Wendy since Sloboda’s muddy foot, Barrosopus slobodai, memorializes her fossil footprint discoveries from 2003 in the South American country of Argentina’s Plaza Huincul.


Life reconstruction of Wendiceratops pinhornensis:

Horned dinosaur's genus name honors legendary fossil hunter Wendy Sloboda (born ca. 1970) of Warner, Alberta, an area of abundant prehistoric relics.
illustration by Danielle Dufault
illustration by Danielle Dufault



My special thanks to talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the internet.


Wendiceratops pinhornensis, a new horned dinosaur

Published on YouTube on July 8, 2015 by SciNews ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EKahAkqyOg

Sources Consulted


AFP. 8 July 2015. “Dinosaures: Un nouveau type de tricératops découvert.” 20 Minutes. 20minutes.fr > sciences.

  • Available at: http://www.20minutes.fr/sciences/1648715-20150708-dinosaures-nouveau-type-triceratops-decouvert#xtor=RSS-176 

AFP. 8 July 2015. “Legendary Dinosaur Family Gets Curly Horned New Member.” Yahoo News. uk.news.yahoo.com > science.

  • Available at: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/legendary-dinosaur-family-gets-curly-horned-member-193433496.html?.tsrc=yahoo#MFuumKT

Bora, Kukil. 9 July 2015. “Wendiceratops: Scientists Discover New Species of Horned Dinosaur That Lived 79 Million Years Ago.” International Business Times. ibtimes.com > technology > science.

  • Available at: http://www.ibtimes.com/wendiceratops-scientists-discover-new-species-horned-dinosaur-lived-79-million-years-2001038

Boyle, Alan. 8 July 2015. “Wendiceratops: Horned Dinosaur Fossil Adds Hooks to Evolutionary Tale.” nbcnews.com > science > weird science.

  • Available at http://www.nbcnews.com/science/weird-science/wendiceratops-horned-dinosaur-fossil-adds-evolutionary-hook-n388786 

Brumfield, Ben. 9 July 2015. “New Dinosaur Species: Wendiceratops’ Nose Horn is a Missing Link in Evolution. Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. cnn.com > americas.

  • Available at: http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/09/americas/new-dinosaur-wendiceratops-alberta-canada/index.html 

Chung, Emily. 8 July 2015. “New ‘Wendiceratops’ Named for Legendary Alberta Dinosaur Hunter Wendy Sloboda.” CBC/Radio Canada. cbc.ca/news > technology & science.

  • Available at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/new-wendiceratops-named-for-legendary-alberta-dinosaur-hunter-wendy-sloboda-1.3143196 

Cleveland Museum of Natural History. 8 July 2015.”New Horned Dinosaur Reveals Evolution of Nose Horn in Triceratops Family.” Phys.org > news > other sciences > archaeology & fossils.

  • Available at: http://phys.org/news/2015-07-horned-dinosaur-reveals-evolution-nose.html

Cleveland Museum of Natural History. 8 July 2015. “Wendiceratops pinhornensis: Curator Discovers New Horned Dinosaur Species.” cmnh.org.

  • Available at: https://www.cmnh.org/wendiceratops 

Evans, David C; and Ryan, Michael J. “Cranial Anatomy of Wendiceratops pinhornensis gen. et sp. nov., A Centrosaurine Ceratopsid from the Oldman Formation (Campanian), Alberta, Canada, and the Evolution of Ceratopsid Nasal Ornamentation.” PLOS ONE dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0130007

  • Available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0130007

Harris-Lovett, Sasha. “Meet Wendiceratops, a Horned Dinosaur Unlike Any Other.” Los Angeles Times. latimes.com > science.

  • Available at: http://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-sn-new-dinosaur-wendiceratops-20150708-story.html 

Liberman, Mark. 9 July 2015. “Wendicertatops.” Language Log. ldc/upenn.edu > the language of science.

  • Available at: http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=19923 

Moser, Cassidee. 9 July 2015. Paleontologists Discover Triceratops Relative the Wendicertaops.” Ziff Davis, LLC. ign.com/articles.

  • Available at: http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/07/09/paleontologists-discover-triceratops-relative-the-wendiceratops 

Newcomb, Alyssa. 9 July 2015. “Newly-Discovered Wendiceratops Dinosaur Had Crown of Horns.” ABC News Internet Ventures. abcnews.go.com > technology.

  • Available at: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/newly-discovered-wendiceratops-dinosaur-crown-horns/story?id=32324572 

Pant, Shontee. 9 July 2015. “Why Is This New, Curly-horned Dinosaur Named Wendy?” The Christian Science Monitor. csmonitor.com > science.

  • Available at: http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2015/0709/Why-is-this-new-curly-horned-dinosaur-named-Wendy

Pelley, Lauren. 8 July 2015. "New Dinosaur Named After Top Canadian Fossil Hunter." Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. thestar.com > News / GTA

  • Available at: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/07/08/new-dinosaur-named-after-top-canadian-fossil-hunter.html

Ryan, Michael J.,  Brenda J Chinnery-Allgeier, and David A Eberth, eds. 2010. New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium. Bloomington IN: Indiana University Press.


Wendiceratops pinhornensis bones were discovered in rich prehistoric region of Milk River Valley, locale of Sweet Grass Hills' biological hotspot and Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park's aboriginal rock carvings and paintings:

Missouri River tributary Milk River received name from legendary American explorer Meriwether Lewis (August 18, 1774 – October 11, 1809).
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park with view of Sweet Grass Hills, Milk River Valley, southern Alberta, western Canada
Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park with view of Sweet Grass Hills, Milk River Valley, southern Alberta, western Canada
the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium ~ Edited by Michael J. Ryan, Brenda J. Chinnery-Allgeier, and David A. Eberth ~ Available now via Amazon

Editor Michael J. Ryan co-discovered Wendiceratops pinhornensis with David C. Evans ~ Contributors comprise who's who of world's foremost ceratopsian and dinosaur researchers.
horned dinosaurs

A Reptoid Using Telepathy to Communicate with a Albertaceratops Dinosaur: image by Mark Stevenson/Stocktrek Images ~ Available now via AllPosters

As with sister species Wendiceratops, Albertaceratops, described in 2007 by Wendiceratops' co-discoverer Michael J. Ryan of Cleveland Museum of Natural History, hails from southeastern Alberta's Oldman Formation.
A Reptoid Using Telepathy to Communicate with a Albertaceratops Dinosaur

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dinosaur-themed products

Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 10/16/2021, DerdriuMarriner
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DerdriuMarriner on 09/03/2015

CruiseReady, It's nice that such an amazing animal honors an amazing woman who has done so much for fossil retrieval and preservation. But it's definitely a look that stands out in a crowd, even with such colleagues as duck-billed dinosaurs and tyrannosaurs!

CruiseReady on 08/31/2015

What an amazing creature that must have been!

DerdriuMarriner on 07/16/2015

happynutritionist, It indeed is truly impressive how many fine images are available because of the generous sharing and meticulous attention of so many competent photographers. It's because of such kindness that landscape pictures are available, and I love your mentioning the assist they give to imagining them with such ancient perambulators as Wendy's horned dinosaurs!

DerdriuMarriner on 07/16/2015

frankbeswick, Thank you for liking this series. Dinosaurs indeed are such great learning fun that they're guaranteed to get children motivated to do homework, pay attention in class, and -- as you suggest -- produce projects for class or science fairs. Everyone becomes a discoverer and explorer -- except in the case of some really scary movies ;-[ -- when it comes to dinosaurs.

happynutritionist on 07/15/2015

I do love the artwork on the page, yes, you are right, the illustrators are so talented. I also appreciate looking out on the vast empty landscape in the photo, imagining what it must have been like to see this dinosaur walking about.

frankbeswick on 07/15/2015

This is a great series on dinosaurs, and it would be so useful to children doing projects at school.

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