Just what the world needs – more ceratopsians

Since I’m not Darren Naish, I have trouble keeping up with every damned tetrapod on Earth. Compared to many of my colleagues however, I do have a great range of research interests so I’m stuck with trying to keep track of various archosaurs, pterosaurs and dinosaurs and the odd basal bird. Frankly, it’s hard enough keeping up with all the pterosaurs these days (not least becuase of the huge range of journals out there now, and the rate at which things are discovered, as well as the raw numbers).

Among all this, I must confess that I spend most of my ‘catching up’ time on dinosaurs with the theropods, then sauropods and then the ornithischians and prosauropods generally come a distant third. However, even I’m aware of just how many ceratopsians have appeared in the last few months and now there are two more!

Restored skull of Utahceratops. From Sampson et al., 2010

Thanks to Scott Sampson, Andy Farke and others we can say hello to Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops. Their paper (in PloS One, so freely available too) however deals with much more than just a couple of new genera (despite their importance and interest in their own right). In it they argue that some of the ceratopsians from the Late Cretaceous of North America were geographically separated from one another within the continent such that the northern part held a different fauna to that in the south.

The authors themselves will be blogging about their work and the paper is out there so no need for me to say much more than ‘well done’ and to encourage you to go and read it.

Sampson, S., Loewen, M., Farke, A., Roberts, E., Forster, C., Smith, J., & Titus, A. (2010). New horned dinosaurs from Utah provide evidence for intracontinental dinosaur endemism PLoS ONE, 5 (9)

6 Responses to “Just what the world needs – more ceratopsians”


  1. 1 Dear Palaeontologists, 22/09/2010 at 5:33 pm

    There are too many dinosaurs these days. Please eliminate three.

    Yours etc., Brigadier Arthur Gormanstrop (Mrs).

  2. 3 Eric 22/09/2010 at 8:48 pm

    I thought Sampson also named a third genus by renaming Chasmosaurus Irvinensius? I remember reading that on Dinochick I think.

  3. 4 mattvr 22/09/2010 at 9:53 pm

    Are all these discoveries affecting the perception that there was a decline in dinosaur variety toward the end of the Cretaceous?

  4. 5 Tim Donovan 07/10/2010 at 3:08 pm

    I’ll say. Note that the newly named taxa are Campanian in age. While the number of Campanian genera keeps going up, late Maastrichtian ceratopsid diversity may be at rock bottom–possibly just a single genus if Triceratops was a subadult Torosaurus. Various authors made a case for lower “Lancian” diversity before all these developments. It now seems stronger than ever.


  1. 1 Zhuchengtyrannus is here! « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 31/03/2011 at 11:00 pm

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