Monday, June 7, 2010

Ceratopsian Wrangling

Here's a roundup of links relating to some of the new ceratopsians we've been delighting in recently. Of course, many of the new taxa introduced in the last couple of weeks come from the long-awaited new book New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: the Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium. The symposium was held in the autumn of 2007, and brought together a couple hundred experts in the field to share recent research.

Michael J. Ryan talks Medusaceratops lokii
The Vancouver Sun has an article about Medusaceratops featuring New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs lead editor, paleontologist Michael J. Ryan. Regarding the name he gave the new ceratopsian, he tells the paper, "One of the things I have a problem with as a paleontologist is how some of my colleagues come up with terribly unpronounceable names... I like to give my dinosaurs names that roll off the tongue and actually evoke an image." Hear, hear.

Jim Kirkland writes about Diabloceratops eatoni
In a guest post at Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings, paleontologist Jim Kirkland sums up what's cool about the new, also-wonderfully-named Diabloceratops. There are some fine photos of the skull, which is a thing of beauty.

Four foot horns from Mexico

Reconstruction by Lukas Panzarin

Coahuilaceratops magnacuerna is the new ceratopsian from Mexico, making news because of its enormous horns. I'd expect a story about it from Nat Geo soonish, as they partially funded the Utah Museum of Natural History dig.

Ojoceratops fowleri
The Bisti-De-Na-Zin Wilderness of New Mexico recently produced the tyrannosaur Bistahieversor, and now gives us Ojoceratops, a mid-size ceratopsian. Discovered by a team led by Robert M. Sullivan of State College of Pennsylvania, Ojoceratops gets its name from the Ojo Alamo Formation in which its bones were found. It's a controversial rock formation, as it is right at the boundary of the Cretaceous and the Paleocene, the first age of the post-dinosaur world. Paleontologist Jim Fassett has argued for years that dinosaurs may have survived a while after the Chicxulub impact based on fossils found in this layer. Sullivan has argued against this, so I doubt that any such assertions will be in the description. There's a great summary of the Ojo Alamo controversy at Laelaps; articles on Ojoceratops at the Santa Fe New Mexican and

These are the few that have received coverage; there are more that haven't had much written about them, including Rubeosaurus, Utahceratops*, and Tatankaceratops. I wrote a bit on Ajkaceratops and a bit more on Sinoceratops. A good place to keep up with recent discoveries, including plenty I haven't had the time to write about, is Dinosaur Central.

Finally, if you're a Facebooker, Ceratopsians have their own fan group, moderated by the Royal Tyrrell's Darren Tanke. More exciting than the Beyonce group, for sure.

*Kind reader 220mya has informed me that Utahceratops is not included in this title, and not yet described.


  1. I just noticed your last name is Orr. Orr was one of my favorite characters in Catch-22. Have you read it? "Orr snickered with a slight, mucid sibilance."

  2. 220mya: Cool, my bad. I'd read its name somewhere recently and assumed it was part of the glut of stuff in this title. Oopsie-doopsie.

    Rich: I haven't read it, but my wife likes it a lot. I have some buddies named Vollmar, which is also a character in the M*A*S*H movie. I always thought that was a cute coincidence.


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