Ceratopsians crests

On my travels at least (which have yet to ever really include Canada and the U.S.) ceratopsians in museums tend to consist entirely of Triceratops with perhaps the odd Protoceratops or Psittacosaurus thrown in. While others are other there (and I’ve run into a few on occasion) I’ve never really got to see any great number of taxa, and certainly not to compare with each other. Given the critical importance the frills and horns play in their taxonomy this is a little frustrating and annoying.

Here however we have (from left to right) Styracosaurus, Pachyrhinosaurus, Anchiceratops, and finally Chasmosaurus. These are mounted as a series on the wall in the Tokyo museum and compliment a mounted Triceratops and lower down a Protoceratops skull. If I have a complaint here it’s that the damned things are 4 m above the ground and hardly in the most convenient spot, but at the same time it’s great to see them. This really shows off some of the variation going on in the number, shape and size of all the various ornamental accoutrements that make up the ceratopsian cranium. It’s a pretty dramatic illustration and one that works well even with just the skulls since they hold so much of the information. I’d love to see a giant version of this done with 20 different heads all lined up and available for people to ogle, I’m sure it would be popular, but you’d need a lot of wall.

7 Responses to “Ceratopsians crests”


  1. 1 Tim Donovan 02/09/2011 at 2:37 pm

    I’d also like to see them arranged in proper chronological order.

  2. 2 Hadur 02/09/2011 at 3:58 pm

    I can assure you that things are no different in the United States, which is after all the homeland of Triceratops.

  3. 3 Dan Varner 02/09/2011 at 9:13 pm

    Neck frill, not crest. Things are getting confusing enough these days.

    • 4 David Hone 03/09/2011 at 8:36 am

      Err, I never said or implied the two were synonymous. I’m talking about crests in a general sense that include the frills, bosses and horns. Hence the title includes the word ‘crests’ but donesn’t make it specific to the neck, but the text refers then to both frills and horns etc.

  4. 5 Jaime A. Headden 05/09/2011 at 1:21 am

    I wonder if the ornamentation on the parietal of the first skull is actually useful in calling it Styracosaurus.

  5. 6 Robert A. Sloan 06/09/2011 at 1:19 pm

    What might work well for a museum that didn’t have a full series or enough wall space would be a mount with quarter-size heads chronologically arranged. That’d still be interesting and if it’s in the same room with a full sized ceratopsian head or two, that’d give scale.


  1. 1 Ceratopsian crests II « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 08/12/2011 at 8:38 am
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