STL Science Center

STL Science Center

18 February 2016

Popular Wendi

I cannot attest to the popularity of Wendy Sloboda post-discovery, but the dinosaur named for her, as the locality discoverer, is quite famous at the moment. Wendiceratops is not famous for being a well fossilized and preserved specimen (though the post-crania of the dinosaur is fairly "complete" for a large North American ceratopsid), but it is famous for being recently discovered and rather novel, morphologically. Newspapers and newscasts heralded the dinosaur as possessing an "extravagant halo of horns" and the fascination from the the general public was ignited. Papers have also emphasized the idea that Wendiceratops is the key element to understanding the horns of chasmosaurs, which may or may not be true, but is certainly a little hyperbolic as every discovered ceratopsian is important in piecing together how horns came to be prominent in the largest and latest members of the family. Regardless of exactly how key a species Wendiceratops is, it remains, so far, a very popular dinosaur. It is so popular, in fact, that it has become a tattoo at least once (Wendy Sloboda sports this masterpiece). A spectacular tattoo at that. It is a little "young" to have found many more popular culture outlets, but given the amount of popularity it possesses already, it will not be long until there are toys and games, perhaps even documentary CGI versions.
Display at the Royal Ontario Museum, credit Brian Boyle

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