Jugal Boss

No, not a fashion designer (and one of the SS uniforms for that matter [exciting pub trivia]) but those delightful little cheek ‘horns’ that are seen on various ornithischians and especially the basal ceratopsians like Psittacosaurus shown here. While many derived ceratopsids still have significant jugal bosses, their frills and horns mean that these tend to be overlooked by the casual observer as a small part of a greater series of ornaments and bizarre structures, but in the basal genera, where the frills were barely developed and horns not yet in evidence, they are the dominant feature. Naturally these play an important taxonomic role and are used in part in separating and identifying a number of Psittacosaurus species. This IVPP specimen has especially nice long ones thought foolishly I didn’t note down which species it was, thought it makes for a good example.

3 Responses to “Jugal Boss”

  1. 1 Zach Miller 22/03/2011 at 5:36 pm

    Yeah, a few species of Psittacosaurus have jugal bosses that, proportionately speaking, put guys like Pentaceratops to shame. P. sibiricus is a good example of that–if memory serves, its skull is wider than long thanks to those bosses!

  2. 2 Christopher 23/03/2011 at 5:03 am

    Were those horn-covered? I’ve seen them restored with or without horn (and with or without a sharp point) in a variety of ceratopsians . . . a sharp horn (or even a smooth horny lump) seems more useful than a skin-covered lump but . . . what do the pros say?

    • 3 David Hone 23/03/2011 at 7:10 am

      Very good question! Short answer, I’ve never really looked at it or thought about it. Slightly longer answer, looking at it now, I’m not sure. They are not that long so might not have been used in anything dramatic enough to requite a covering, but that doesn’t rule one out. You do see some texturing in bigger horns but not all of the small ones that probably were sheathed. For me at least, it could go either way, but I’d want to know what a ceratopsid expert thinks / has seen.

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