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Medusaceratops belongs to the Chasmosaurinae subfamily of the horned dinosaur family Ceratopsidae. The other subfamily is Centrosaurinae. The specimen is the first Campanian-aged chasmosaurine ceratopsid found in Montana. It is also the oldest known Chasmosaurine ceratopsid. The new dinosaur was discovered in a bonebed on private land located along the Milk River in North Central Montana. Fossilized bones from the site were acquired by Canada Fossil, Inc., of Calgary, Alberta, in the mid-1990s.
The company consulted with Ryan and his colleagues to identify material from the site. At first, the scientists could not make a positive identification. Medusaceratops had giant brow bones more than 3 feet long over each eye, and a large, shield-like frill off the back of its skull adorned with large curling hooks. Medusaceratops lokii means "Loki's horned-faced Medusa," referring to the thickened, fossilized, snake-like hooks on the side of the frill. It was named after Loki, the Norse god of mischief, because the new dinosaur initially caused scientists some confusion.
"Here we have something almost the size of Triceratops, but 10 million years before it lived," Ryan said. "T. rex was not around yet, so what was Medusaceratops squaring off against? That's one of the things we're now looking for in Alberta."