Yale Expert Names New Frilly Headed Dinosaur | NBC Connecticut

Yale Expert Names New Frilly Headed Dinosaur



    Yale University
    Newly named dinosaur species: Mojoceratops

    After a few beers between paleontologists, the name of a new dinosaur species was born: Mojoceratops.

    Nicholas Longrich, a postdoctoral associate at Yale university, discovered the new species, according to a release from Yale, and he was looking for a name to match the dino's signature feature -- a heart-shaped frill on its head.

    Mojoceratops was the first word out of Longrich's mouth.

    "It was just a joke, but then everyone stopped and looked at each other and said, ‘Wait — that actually sounds cool,' " Longrich said. "I tried to come up with serious names after that, but Mojoceratops just sort of stuck."

    So, now that Longrich's paper describing his find has been published in the Journal of Paleontology, the name is official.

    It was only after coming up with the name that Longrich looked into the word's origin, and it turns out Mojoceratops is a fitting name for the frilly headed dinosaur. "Mojo" is an early 20th century African American term meaning a magic charm or talisman, often used to attract members of the opposite sex.

    "This dinosaur probably used its frill to attract mates, so the name made sense," Longrich said. 

    The Mojoceratops, around the size of a hippopotamus, appeared about 75 million years ago - 10 million years earlier than it's well-known cousin, the Triceratops, according to Yale.

    The species is found only in Canada's Alberta and Saskatchewan provinces and only survived for about one million years.