Knocking down a few beers while naming your new dinosaur

When Nicholas Longrich discovered a new dinosaur species with a heart-shaped frill on its head, he wanted to come up with a name just as flamboyant as the dinosaur’s appearance. Over a few beers with fellow paleontologists one night, he blurted out the first thing that came to mind: Mojoceratops.

“It was just a joke, but then everyone stopped and looked at each other and said, ‘Wait — that actually sounds cool,’ ” said Longrich, a postdoctoral associate at Yale University. “I tried to come up with serious names after that, but Mojoceratops just sort of stuck.”

With the publication of Longrich’s paper describing his find in the Journal of Paleontology…the name is now official…

It was only after coming up with the unusual name that Longrich looked into its etymology. Surprisingly, he found that it was a perfect fit for the species, which sported a flamboyant, heart-shaped frill on its head.

“I discovered that ‘mojo’ is an early 20th-century African-American term meaning a magic charm or talisman, often used to attract members of the opposite sex,” he said. “This dinosaur probably used its frill to attract mates, so the name made sense.” The full name is Mojoceratops perifania, with “perifania” meaning pride in Greek. (The other part of the name mojoceratops follows the convention of other related species, with “ceras” being Greek for horn and “ops” being Greek for face.)

While all ceratopsids have frills on the tops of their skulls, “Mojoceratops is the most ostentatious,” Longrich said, adding that their frill is also the most heart-shaped of all the related species.

Haven’t been in New Haven in decades; but, I wonder which bar he was drinking in.

You have beaucoup choices. You can hangout near the campus and be surrounded by Yalies. Or wander out into the old neighborhoods like Wooster Street and have some dynamite pizza along with your beer.

More Mojo.

One thought on “Knocking down a few beers while naming your new dinosaur

  1. Josh says:

    You know, that story about the naming is pretty good. Thankfully, I didn’t have to knock back any beers to figure out my dino name. I just grabbed it on http://dinos.thegarden.com. My kids will not stop playing around with it! Apparently, my name is Josh Joke-asaur.

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