Researchers recently announced the discovery of a 15,000 pound dinosaur in Big Bend National Park. The discovery, actually made two years ago and kept under wraps pending further study, turned out to be a new species of dino that roamed the park as long as 75 million years ago (for those keeping track, that’s 75,000,002 years ago).

Below is the National Park Service announcement:

Horned Dinosaur Discovery
Date: June 10, 2013

Earlier this month, researchers with the U.S. National Park Service and Texas Tech University unveiled a new species of horned dinosaur, Bravoceratops polyphemus, recently discovered in Big Bend National Park.

Steven L. Wick and Thomas M. Lehman made the initial discovery two years ago following several months of field work. They were able to recover portions of the giant skull. Bravoceratops (“wild horn-face”) is named after the Rio Bravo del Norte (aka Rio Grande), which marks the border between Big Bend National Park and northern Mexico. The new find was first reported online in the journal Naturwissenschaften.

Bravoceratopspolyphemus was one of the largest members of a group of horned dinosaurs called chasmosaurines, which lived during the Late Cretaceous Period from about 75-65 million years ago. In life, the animal had a skull about seven feet in length, with both its brow horns each over three feet long. Among the chasmosaurines, Bravoceratops was very similar in size to its better known cousin, Triceratops, which weighed up to an estimated 15,000 pounds. Although Bravoceratops was a plant-eater, its large size, long horns, and bony frill likely protected it from large predators, acted as means to intimidate rivals, and attract mates.

The discovery is especially exciting given that Big Bend National Park is currently developing a new fossil bone exhibit to showcase many of the most spectacular finds from the park. In partnership with the Friends of Big Bend National Park (http://www.bigbendfriends.org/), a full-size replica of the skull of Bravoceratops is currently being considered for the new display.