Spaniel Sized Horned Dinosaur – Aquilops americanus

Many school children may be familiar with horned dinosaurs such as Triceratops and the spiky Styracosaurus.  Indeed, these huge Late Cretaceous herbivores are some of the best known of all the dinosaur species. However, scientists have been researching how these dinosaurs came to be in North America in the first place.

It is believed that in the Cretaceous, land bridges formed between the land that was to become North America and Asia.  The horned dinosaur group, most probably evolved in Asia and migrated into the land that we now know as Canada and the United States at some point in deep time, when a land bridge existed between these two continents.

Aquilops americanus

Everything Dinosaur reported this week on the research carried out by a dedicated team of palaeontologists as they seek to understand how these bird-hipped dinosaurs evolved and migrated out of their ancestral home.  In a newly published scientific paper, a partial skull and jaw of a new type of horned dinosaur, roughly the size of a small spaniel has been described.  The dinosaur, whose skull measures just over eight centimetres in length has been named Aquilops americanus (the name means “American Eagle Face”).

Important Horned Dinosaur Fossil Discovery

Cranial material of Aquilops.

Skull fossil that can sit in the palm of your hand.

Picture credit: Reuters

For articulated models and replicas of horned dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures: Beasts of the Mesozoic Models.

These fossils represent the oldest horned dinosaurs found to date in North America, scientists hope that this rare find will help them to understand more about the evolution and radiation of the Neoceratopsidae and the Ceratopsidae.

To read the complete article from Everything Dinosaur: Shedding Light on the Earliest Horned Dinosaurs of North America.