Archaeoceratops

Name: Archaeoceratops ‭(‬Ancient horned face‭)‬.
Phonetic: Ar-kay-oh-seh-rah-tops.
Named By: Dong‭ & ‬Azuma‭ ‬-‭ ‬1997.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Reptilia,‭ ‬Dinosauria,‭ ‬Ornithischia,‭ ‬Ceratopsia,‭ ‬Archaeoceratopsidae.
Species: A.‭ ‬oshimai‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬A.‭ ‬yujingziensis.
Diet: Herbivore.
Size: Up to about 90‭ ‬centimetres long.
Known locations: China‭ ‬-‭ ‬Gansu Province.
Time period: Aptian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Two individual specimens including a skull and partial post cranial remains.

       Archaeoceratops is yet another of the increasingly large number of basal ceratopsian dinosaur remains that are coming from Asia.‭ ‬These‭ ‬remains point to an Asian ancestral origin for all ceratopsians from Protoceratops of Mongolia,‭ ‬to huge and horned Triceratops and Styracosaurus of North America.‭
       Archaeoceratops however was very different to these larger later forms.‭ ‬First,‭ ‬Archaeoceratops seems to be better suited to a bipedal stance when walking,‭ ‬although it was probably quick to adopt a quadrupedal posture for feeding upon low vegetation.‭ ‬Grasses had not yet evolved so Archaeoceratops would have been a browser of low vegetation,‭ ‬something that would not change throughout the lineage of the ceratopsian dinosaurs.‭ ‬Despite its small size lack of horns and bipedal stance however,‭ ‬the early indications of how its descendants would form can already be seen in the size of the skull.‭ ‬This skull when compared to the proportions of similarly sized dinosaurs like the ornithopods actually appears to be too big for the body,‭ ‬and later quadrupedal ceratopsian dinosaurs would go down in natural history as having some of the proportionately largest skulls in relation to their overall body sizes.

Further reading
- On a primitive neoceratopsian from the Early Cretaceous of China. Sino-Japanese Silk Road Dinosaur Expedition. - China Ocean Press, Beijing 68-89. - Z. Dong & Y. Azuma - 1997.
- A new species of Archaeoceratops (Dinosauria: Neoceratopsia) from the Early Cretaceous of the Mazongshan area, northwestern China, Hai-Lu You, Kyo Tanque & Peter Dodson, In New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press) - Michael J. Ryan, Brenda J. Chinnery-Allgeier & David A. Eberth - 2010.




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