Ajkaceratops

Name: Ajkaceratops ‭(‬Ajka horned face‭)‬.
Phonetic: Oy-kah-seh-rah-tops‭ (‬the‭ ‘‬j‭’ ‬is silent‭)‬.
Named By: Attila Osi,‭ ‬Richard J.‭ ‬Butler‭ & ‬David B.‭ ‬Weishampel‭ ‬-‭ ‬2010.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Ceratopsia,‭ ‬Coronosauria,‭ ‬Bagaceratopsidae.
Species: A.‭ ‬kozmai‭ (‬type‭).
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Uncertain due to lack of remains,‭ ‬but estimated about‭ ‬1‭ ‬meter long.
Known locations: Hungary‭ ‬-‭ ‬Csehbanya Formation.
Time period: Santonian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Skull fragments.

       Although only named from partial skull remains representing what seems to be a small dinosaur,‭ ‬Ajkaceratops has been one of the most important dinosaur discoveries of the early twenty-first century‭; ‬it is the first ceratopsian dinosaur definitively proven to have come from Europe.‭ ‬Ceratopsian dinosaurs were very common across Asia and North America during the late Cretaceous,‭ ‬in fact until the discovery of Ajkaceratops,‭ ‬these were the only places where these kinds of dinosaurs were known to live.
       In terms of known features,‭ ‬Ajkaceratops has been considered by its describers to be most similar to Bagaceratops and Magnirostris,‭ ‬both known from Asia.‭ ‬It is probable that the ancestors of Ajkaceratops radiated out from Asia before reaching late Cretaceous Europe,‭ ‬which back then was more a chain of islands that a single continent.‭ ‬Ajkaceratops would have been a small quadrupedal dinosaur that browsed upon low growing vegetation that would have been cropped with its beak like mouth.‭ ‬Ajkaceratops would have loosely resembled a smaller version of the later larger ceratopsian dinosaurs like Chasmosaurus and Diabloceratops,‭ ‬but it would have lacked the elaborate neck frill and horn displays of these later relatives.
       The Csehbanya Formation where Ajkaceratops fossils are known is believed to have been a flood plain back in the late Cretaceous.‭ ‬This habitat would have large expanses of fertile ground‭ (‬from silt deposited by occasional floods‭) ‬allowing lush low growing vegetation to flourish.‭ ‬An alternative explanation however might be that Ajkaceratops lived upstream in drier conditions and was simply washed down there after being caught up in a flood.‭ ‬If Ajkaceratops actually did live in a flood plain environment though,‭ ‬then it likely shared its habitat with ornithopod dinosaurs like Rhabdodon,‭ ‬nodosaurs like Hungarosaurus,‭ ‬and small theropods like Pneumatoraptor,‭ ‬while pterosaurs like Bakonydraco flew overhead.

Further reading
-‭ ‬A Late Cretaceous ceratopsian dinosaur from Europe with Asian affinities,‭ ‬Attila Osi,‭ ‬Richard J.‭ ‬Butler‭ & ‬David B.‭ ‬Weishampel‭ ‬-‭ ‬2010.





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