From The Open Source Paleontologist blog in the USA:
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Horned Dinosaurs: When It Rains, It Pours
2010 will surely go down as the annus mirabilis of horned dinosaur research. Between the publications of the horned dinosaur symposium volume (with its myriad new taxa and other exciting pieces of research), a “bagaceratopsid” in Europe, a true ceratopsid in Asia, the hypothesis that Torosaurus and Triceratops are growth stages of the same taxon, and more, it’s really tough for a “ceratophile” (to borrow Peter Dodson‘s term) to keep up!
Today continues the embarrassment of ceratopsian riches. With my co-authors Scott Sampson, Mark Loewen, Cathy Forster, Eric Roberts, Alan Titus, and Josh Smith, I’m pleased to introduce you to Utahceratops gettyi and Kosmoceratops richardsoni (at top and bottom, respectively, in the image at right), freshly published in PLoS ONE. Although it’s been a long time coming, our hope is that these new critters will really knock your socks off!
So what’s so special about these two animals? Well, for one they’re new dinosaurs. And new horned dinosaurs at that. On a broader note, our new critters (along with careful radiometric dating of the Kaiparowits Formation, the rock unit in southern Utah from which they originated) provide important evidence for dinosaur provincialism during the Late Cretaceous. In other words, these big, elephant-sized dinosaurs weren’t traveling far. They’re the same age as dinosaurs known from much further to the north, yet represent a very different part of the horned dinosaur family tree. This is strange, especially when you consider that today there is only one (or maybe two, depending on whom you ask) elephant species in all of Africa! 75 million years ago, there were three or four closely related species of horned dinosaur living simultaneously on that little strip of beachfront property that comprised western North America. And that’s not counting a few more less closely-related horned dinosaurs (centrosaurines) that lived at the same time! Truly weird.
Meet Kosmoceratops, the horniest vegetarian dinosaur: here.
Top dinosaur hunters are worst at naming: here.