(Liaoning horned face).
Named By: X. Xu, P. J. Makovicky, X. Wang, M. A. Norell & H. You -2002.
Classification: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Ornithischia, Cerapoda, Ceratopsia.
Species: L. yanzigouensis (type).
Size: Holotype skull is 154 millimetres long.
Known locations: China, Liaoning Province - Yixian Formation.
Time period: Barremian/Aptian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Holotype is of an almost complete skull, partial skulls of two juvenile individuals also known.
was a fairly small neoceratopsian
dinosaur that is nonetheless a good
example of the ancestors of the later and larger ceratopsian
dinosaurs such as Triceratops
that lived during the
late Cretaceous. Liaoceratops had the beginnings
of a neck frill,
though nothing like the same scale as later descendants, and no
horns were present. Also, while probably being mostly quadrupedal,
Liaoceratops would have still had an easy time
rearing up and walking
around on just their hind legs.
The small size and relatively high agility meant that Liaoceratops would have had a good chance to evade larger predatory dinosaurs such as tyrannosaurs like Yutyrannus, especially when roaming around forests. Liaoceratops were eaten by predatory dinosaurs however as a skull of a juvenile (CAGS-IG-VD-002) shows that the braincase was missing, probably removed by a predator. There are no shortage of potential suspects for this as the Yixian Formation is known to contain many predators such as troodonts like Sinovenator and Sinusonasus, dromaeosaurs like Sinornithosaurus and Tianyuraptor as well as other basal tyrannosaurs such as Dilong.
- A ceratopsian dinosaur from China and the early evolution of Ceratopsia - X. Xu, P. J. Makovicky, X. Wang, M. A. Norell & H. You -2002.
- A new specimen of Liaoceratops yanzigouensis (Dinosauria: Neoceratopsia) from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning Province, China - H. You, K. Tanoue & P. Dodson - 2007.