Monday, October 4, 2010
Diabloceratops eatoni, sitting pretty
Get a load of this great Diabloceratops by Andrey Atuchin, who goes by the handle Olorotitan at DeviantArt. Diabloceratops is another member of the ceratopsian class of 2010, a centrosaurine from late Cretaceous Utah. It's easy to be dazzled by Diablo's strange skull ornamentation, those two great barbs protruding from the back of its narrow frill. But its true importance lies in a more humble feature: two openings in the skull in front of the eye sockets called the antorbital fenestrae. These holes were lost in many subsequent ceratopsians; Scott Sampson has hypothesized that this may have been because greater skull strength was needed for possible wrestling matches between rival animals. Paleontologist Jim Kirkland's May 28 guest post at Archosaur Musings goes into great detail on this subject, discussing what the presence of that feature may mean in sorting out the ceratopsian family tree.
Big pat on the back to Atuchin for this beauty of a piece. I love the unconventional pose, the near-frontal view of the head, and the simplicity of the composition.
Nod of the parietal to Fuck Yeah Minerals and Fossils. Oh, Tumblr, you cheeky blog platform, you.