(Aguja horned face).
Named By: Spencer G. Lucas, Robert M. Sullivan and Adrian Hunt - 2006.
Synonyms: Chasmosaurus mariscalensis.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Ornithischia, Ceratopsia, Ceratopsidae, Chasmosaurinae.
Species: A. mariscalensis (type).
Size: Uncertain due to lack of remains.
Known locations: USA - Texas - Aguja Formation.
Time period: Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Based upon a partial skull including the brain case, horn foundation, left maxilla (upper jaw) and right dentary (lower jaw). Further remains have since been inferred to the genus.
originally started out as being assigned as a species to the genus
another and more common Campanian era ceratospian
dinosaur. However closer analysis by Lucas, Sullivan and Hunt in
2006 of a partial skull revealed key differences between it and
other Chasmosaurus fossils. This led to the
material being removed
from Chasmosaurus and established as a unique
genus, though the
original species name of mariscalensis was retained
to create the new
type species of Agujaceratops mariscalensis in
standardised renaming guidelines. The genus name is inspired by the
Aguja Formation where the original holotype was recovered from a bone
bed of remains, combined with ‘ceratops’ which in Ancient Greek
means horned face. The species name of mariscalensis
translates to English as ‘from Mariscal’. Since the holotype was
described, further fragmentary remains have been assigned to the
Other dinosaurs of the Aguja Formation that Agujaceratops likely shared its habitat with include its relative Chasmosaurus, as well as the armoured dinosaurs Edmontonia and Euoplocephalus as well as the hadrosaurid Angulomastacator amongst others. Predatory dinosaur remains from this formation are mostly smaller theropods such as Saurornitholestes and Richardostesia. These dinosaurs probably wouldn’t have been a serious threat to Agujaceratops, and most likely hunted other similarly sized dinosaurs that were easier targets.
One very serious threat did however live in the Aguja Formation, and this was the fearsome Deinosuchus, a giant crocodile with a reputation for taking on tyrannosaurs that could have potentially dragged an Agujaceratops into the water where it could be drowned before being eaten. Not only was Deinosuchus the biggest predator so far discovered in the Aguja Formation, but the presence of a semi-aquatic crocodile combined with the fossils of turtles and ammonites reveals that Agujaceratops probably lived in coastal wetlands that would have been near the coastline of the Western Interior Seaway, a shallow sea that submerged much of central North America during the Cretaceous.