Sunday, July 21, 2013

Nasutoceratops: Prehistoric Animal of the Week

Today we take a look at a really cool looking "newly discovered" plant eating dinosaur called Nasutoceratops titusi.  This guy was actually unearthed back in 2006 and named in 2010.  It wasn't until last week that a formal paper describing it was officially released, however.

Nasutoceratops titusi life reconstruction by Christopher DiPiazza.

Nasutoceratops translates to "Big Nosed Horned Face" because of its extremely thick snout.  It was a ceratopsid and was related to Styracosaurus which also had a relatively big nose.  It lived in what is now Utah, USA during the Late Cretaceous Period about 75 million years ago.

There have been a lot of interesting ceratopsids being discovered lately, many of which have very unique horn and frill structures but I personally think Nasutoceratops is the coolest out of this bunch.  It doesn't really have much on its nose but its brow horns were a different story.  They grew outwards to the sides of the animal's face then curved inwards towards the middle, very similar to the horns of some modern bulls.  Nasutoceratops' frill was relatively small and circular shaped.

Nasutuceratops skull


Nasutoceratops is an interesting and important dinosaur because Ceratopsids in the centrosaurine group (thick-snouted ones also including Diabloceratops, Styracosaurus and Pachyrhinosaurus) are rare in the Southern United States.  Many of them are actually found farther north in Canada.  Nasutoceratops provides us with more clues (and questions) about ceratopsid evolution and geographical distribution.

Thats all for this week!  We are still working on coverage from New Mexico sorry for the delay (try to be patient!).  As always comment below or on our facebook page!

References

Sampson, S. D.; Lund, E. K.; Loewen, M. A.; Farke, A. A.; Clayton, K. E. (2013). "A remarkable short-snouted horned dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous (late Campanian) of southern Laramidia". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 280 (1766): 20131186. doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.1186

No comments:

Post a Comment