FROM THE EDUCATION DESK
Interesting Facts for August: In 1863 the Battle of Gettysburg began. The bloody three day fight ended in a Union victory and became a turning point in the American Civil War…In 1790 the first U.S. Census was conducted. There were 3,929,214 people counted that year…August was named in honor of Augustus Caesar…MTV started in 1981 on cable T.V…NORAD was formed in 1957 between the United States and Canada.
Auroraceratops rugosus was named in 2005 based upon a single skull from the Gobi Desert in northwestern China. Paleontologist and senior author Peter Dodson along with students Hai-Lu You and Matthew Lamanna named this dinosaur “dawn’s horned face” in honor of Dodson’s wife, Dawn.
Since then scientists have recovered fossils from more than 80 individual Auroraceratops, bringing this small bodied plant eater into the ranks of the most completely known dinosaurs. It is one of the few very early horned dinosaurs known from complete skeletons. In the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, researchers describe the anatomy, age, preservation and evolution of this large collection of Auroracertops.
This dinosaur lived about 115 million years ago and was an early member of the group Ceratopsia…the same group to which Triceratops belongs. It was approximately 49 in. in length and 17in. tall and weighed about 34lbs. It had a short frill and beak like a horned dinosaur but lacks the “true” horns and cranial ornamentation of Triceratops. Horned dinosaurs transitioned from being bipedal to being large rhinoceros-like quadrupedal animals most people think of as horned dinosaurs during the later parts of the Cretaceous.
Before this study scientists relied on Psittacosaurus for what they thought the last bipedal ceratopsian looked liked.
The information from this study can give us a better picture of the starting point for the changes between bipedal and quadrupedal ceratopsians.
Material provided by University of Pennsylvania.