Named By: Andrew A. Farke, Michael J. Ryan, Paul M. Barrett, Darren H. Tanke, Dennis R. Braman, Mark A. Loewen & Mark R. Graham. - 2011.
Synonyms: Chordata, Reptilia, Dinosauria, Ornithischia, Ceratopsia, Ceratopsidae, Centrosaurinae.
Classification: S. sternbergorum (type).
Species: Uncertain due to lack of fossils material.
Size: Uncertain due to lack of fossils material.
Known locations: Canada, Alberta, Red Deer River.
Time period: Campanian of the Cretaceous.
Fossil representation: Two partial skulls.
holotype specimen of Spinops was first discovered
in 1916 by
Charles H. and Levi Sternberg. However when the material was sent
to the London Natural History Museum (the institution that financed
the dig) the keeper of Geology, one Arthur Smith Woodward (today
best remembered for declaring the ‘Piltdown Man’ as a genuine
fossil when it was actually a fake) declared the fossil material as
‘nothing but rubbish’. As a result the fossil material languished
within the stores of the London Natural History Museum until the early
years of the twenty-first century when Andrew A. Farke relocated the
fossils. Michael J. Ryan had tried to study the fossils earlier in
2000, but the material could not be found at the time of the
request. The new team quickly realised that the material they had
represented a new genera of ceratopsian, and named it Spinops
reference to the spiny appearance of the skulls, and the species name
sternbergorum in honour of the original
discoverers, Charles H. and
Spinops is classed as a cantrosaurine ceratopsian, the type that are known for increased horn growth at the expense of a reduced neck frill. Spinops also had an enlarged nasal horn but reduced brow horns, as well as two smaller horns at the top and centre of the frill that curved down towards the face. Two larger spikes slightly longer than the nasal horn were fairly close together at the top of the frill and extended backwards.
The original fossil material of Spinops was actually recovered from a bone bed, something that indicates the possibility of not just further fossil material for this genus waiting to be found, but it also infers the possibility for herding behaviour in this genus. This is not too much of a stretch to imagine as other centrosaurine ceratopsians such as Centrosaurus and Styracosaurus are also known from mass bone beds.