About 72 million years ago, in the Late Cretaceous of what is now Mongolia, a dead dromaeosaurid dinosaur lost its head.
30 years ago, in 1991, its headless fossilized remains were discovered during a joint Mongolian Academy of Sciences / American Museum of Natural History expedition in the Gobi Desert.
For a long time the specimen was known only by the nickname of “Ichabodcraniosaurus”, in reference to a character haunted by a headless ghost in the story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – but now it’s finally been given a full scientific description and a proper name.
Say hello to the first new non-avian dinosaur of 2021, Shri devi!
Named after a buddhist deity, this little dinosaur was around 2m long (6’6″), roughly the size of a modern peacock or wild turkey. It was a very close relative of Velociraptor, but lived in a slightly different part of the ancient Gobi than its famous cousin, giving us a glimpse of how dromaeosaurid species varied across that region.