STL Science Center

STL Science Center

16 December 2017

The Oldest Ceratopsian

In the Late Jurassic the foundations of the anatomy of a group known as the Marginocephalians was being laid in the ancestors of these animals. One of the oldest recognized ceratopsians, one of two prominent groups that emerged in the Marginocephalia, was recently (2015) described from remains discovered in China. Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleonathropology (IVPP) V18641, better known as Hualianceratops wucaiwanensis, was recovered in Western China, specifically in the Xinjiang Province in 2002. The expedition that uncovered the remains was led by the IVPP in conjunction with George Washington University of Washington D. C. The description was penned by Han Fenglu and Xu Xing associated with IVPP and Catherine A. Forster and James M. Clark of George Washington. They described a ceratopsian dinosaur the size of a medium sized dog with a name meaning "Ornamental face" (Hua and lian) with ceratops still meaning "Horned Face". As we will see this week, the remains are heavily based on cranial material, so a name that describes the face twice is actually extremely appropriate.

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