Like something out of an Austin Powers movie, this dinosaur’s got ‘mojo’.
In the film ‘The Spy Who Shagged Me’ the star spy Austin Powers later got his sexual mojo back after it had been stolen from his cryogenically frozen body by a time travelling baddie.
This dinosaur became ‘frozen’ in rock, mojo intact it seems.
Whilst studying the dinosaur fossil collection at the American Museum of Natural History Nicholas Longrich, a post-doctoral researcher of Yale University, found some remains that did not fit the accepted findings. What had previously thought to have been the fossilised remains of Chasmosaurus turned out to be a new species.
The remains come from what is acknowledged as the area with the most diverse dinosaur environment, the Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta Canada. The fossils had already undergone a lot of investigation, so identifying a new species from them was very surprising.
But once found the question was what to call it? It is usual to use a Greek or Latin root to name it. But after a few beers and mulling it over with fellow palaeontologists Nicholas Longrich decided that ‘Mojoceratops’ was the name for this one.
The species existed for about a million years some 75 million years ago and is an earlier version of triceratops. It is thought that the heart shaped bony adornment on top of the skull was a decoration for attracting mates. So when Longrich discovered that ‘mojo’ was an early 20th century African-American word for a magic charm used to attract the opposite sex then it seemed an apt name. Although it technically breaks the usual naming norm it has become the accepted name for the dinosaur.
The full name is ‘Mojoceratops Perifania’. ‘Mojo’ – sexual charm, ‘ceras’ – Greek for horn, ‘ops’ – Greek for face and ‘Perifania’ – Greek for pride.
"You're supposed to use Latin and Greek names, but this just seemed more fun," Longrich told Science Daily. "You can do good science and still have some fun, too. So why not?"