The discovery of a new ceratopsian, Regaliceratops, has been published, and because it is a triceratops, I must say three things about it.
First, something the media isn’t reporting on…strangely, because it’s the most interesting thing that is strongly emphasized in the paper itself. This is a chasmosaurine ceratopsian, distinct from the other major division of that group, the centrosaurines. Yet the frill display exhibits evolutionary convergences on centrosaurine frills.
Isn’t that one of the coolest things about ceratopsians? That they have these enormous, easily fossilized structures that are clearly specialized within each species for some kind of display? Sexual selection at work, people!
It was discovered in Alberta. This fits with my creationary dowsing hypothesis that reactionary creationists are strongly attracted to fossils, and that paleontologists could productively follow conservative preachers around with a pickaxe and discover new species under their feet. In fact, I think that if you dynamited churches you’d find awesome new lagerstätten directly under their floorboards.
I keep applying to NSF for funding to do that experiment, and they keep turning me down.
Imbedded in the acknowledgments section of the paper is this line:
C.M.B. would specifically like to highlight the ongoing and unwavering support of Lorna O’Brien. Lorna, will you marry me?
Good news: apparently Lorna said yes. Even gooder news: C.M.B. did not just publicly pressure Lorna to accept (always a concern with these sorts of efforts), since she saw it while reading a draft of the paper, before it was published.