Anchiceratops ‭(‬Near horned face‭)

Short Info

Anchiceratops ‭(‬Near horned face‭)

Phonetic : An-chi-seh-ra-tops.

Named By : Barnum Brown‭ ‬-‭ ‬1914

Diet : Herbivore

Size : Estimated from 4 – 6 meters long

Type of Dinosaur : Ceratopsian

Type Species : A.‭ ‬ornatus‭ (‬type‭)

Found in : Canada,‭ ‬Alberta‭ ‬-‭ ‬Horseshoe Canyon Formation,‭ ‬Dinosaur Park Formation.‭ ‬USA,‭ ‬Wyoming Almond Formation.

When it Lived : Late Cretaceous, 74-70 million years ago

Anchiceratops (/,aeNGki’ser@tapsAnchiceratops (/,aeNGki’ser@taps) was an extinct genus belonging to the a chasmosaurine ceratopsid dinosaur which lived from 72-71 million years ago in the last part of the Cretaceous Period in what is currently Alberta, Canada. Anchiceratops is a medium-sized well-built, ground-dwelling quadruple herbivore, which could be up to 5 meters (16.4 feet) in length. The skull of the animal had two brow horns that were long and one horn that was short in the nasal area. The frill on the skull was rectangular and elongated and was adorned with rough triangular projections. A dozen skulls belonging to the genus were found.

The first Anchiceratops remains were found on the Red Deer River in the Canadian province of Alberta in 1912 during an expedition led by Barnum Brown. The holotype, known as AMNH 5251 is the back part of a skull. It includes the long frill and two other skulls that were partially carved including the specimens AMNH 5259 (the paratype) and AMNH 5273 were also discovered in the same period and are currently housed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. A complete skull , designated NMC 8535 was found at the time of Charles M. Sternberg at Morrin in 1924. It was identified in 1924 as A. lengthyirostris five years following in 1929. However, the species is generally regarded as to be a junior synonym for A. ornatus in the present. At minimum ten skulls with missing parts have been discovered. The skulls differ in relation to their proportions (e.g. size of supraorbital orbital cores of the horn, size of frills) which scientists concluded that the differences are ontogenetic.

The genus name, Anchiceratops is a reference to “near horned face”, and is derived from Greek terms “anchi” (agkhi-) meaning “near”, “keras” (keras) meaning “horn”, and “ops” (ops) which means “face”. Anchiceratops was identified as a species in the work of American paleontologist Barnum Brown in 1914. He believed that the dinosaur represented an evolutionary form that was closely linked with both Monoclonius as well as Triceratops and in between however, it was the closest evolution of skull frills Triceratops, hence the name that is generically interpreted as “near Ceratops”. The sole valid species that is known today is Anchiceratops ornatus. Its name refers to the ornate border that forms its frill.


Anchiceratops skull in University of Wyoming Geological Museum
James St. John, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Another one, NMC 8547 (or CMN 8547) taken in 1925 by Sternberg during 1925 is missing much of the skull however, it is by far the most complete skeleton that has been discovered from any ceratopsid. It has the entire spinal column to the vertebra at the tail. The material of Sternberg is currently housed at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. NMC 8547 is shown as a half-mount, with the best preserved right-side of the specimen, and finished with an exact replica of a skull cast from NMC 8535. Additional material has been discovered sincethen, including two or three possible bonesbeds in Alberta however, very little Anchiceratops material has been described.

The vast majority of Anchiceratops fossils are found inside the Horseshoe Canyon Formation of Alberta that is part of the latter portion of the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period (Anchiceratops remains are found in the lower region of the formation and span from 72.5-71 million years old). Frill fragments that were discovered inside the Maastrichtian Almond Formation of Wyoming in the United States resemble Anchiceratops. But brown fragments of horn (specimens NMC 9590 and 10645) as well as frill pieces (specimens NMC 9813, 9814 and 9829) have been discovered from two locations in the Oldman as well as Dinosaur Park Formations (late Campanian, 76.5-75 million years ago) with the typical pattern of points that is seen on Anchiceratops frills. They could be early evidence from A. ornatus or another species that is related to it. Anchiceratops remains have also been discovered in sediments of the terrestrial environment of the St. Mary River Formation at the Scabby Butte locality in southwestern Alberta However they cannot be considered to be belonging to a distinct species.

in 2012 Mallon found that a lot more fossils of the Anchiceratops were found than were previously realized. This included: TMP 1983.001.0001, which is a near completely complete skull belonging to a child UW 2419, which is a near complete skull and ROM 802, which is skull without snout FMNH P15003 is the upper part of a skull that lacks the nostril; CMN 1138 which is a left frill in the skull; CMN 12-1915, frill fragments as well as UALVP 1618, which is the rear edge of frill. The greater number of fossils can be analyzed through statistical analysis to resolve some of the long-running disputes regarding the Genus.

As with other ceratopsids A. ornatus is a quadruple herbivore, sporting 3 horns on the head as well as a parrot-like beak and a long frill that extended out from the rear to the top of its head. The two horns on the top of the eyes were more long then the single horn that was on its snout as is the case with other Chasmosaurines.


Anchiceratops ornatus
Brown, Barnum., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Anchiceratops is a ceratopsid of medium size. If the specimen NMC 8547 isn’t considered there are no precise estimates of the body size of Anchiceratops is possible to provide. A few popular science books claim that it was around twenty feet (6 millimetres) long. In 2010, Gregory S. Paul, who believed that specimen NMC 8547 was an Anchiceratops, determined its length to be 4.3 meters, and its weight as 1.2 tonnes.

Anchiceratops frills are distinctive. They are rectangular in shape. The frill is bordered by huge Epoccipitals, which are osteoderms made up that are triangular bone projections. They are extremely wide and rough. The epoccipitals can be found situated on the opposite side of the frill. They are created by the squamosal. These episquamosals are between five and nine. The episquamosal in the middle is big, and is about the size of three osteoderms on the rear of the frill. They are also known as epiparietals. Another distinctive feature is the bony knobs that are located at the opposite end of the midline toward the bottom on the frill. They are pointed to the side and can vary in shape and size among individuals. The parietal bone, which forms the front edge and central part of the frill has smaller parietal fenestrae like windows, than the ones found in other chasmosaurines such as Pentaceratops or Torosaurus. The frill is characterized by deep arterial grooves, both on the upper and lower sides.

The specimen NMC 8547, which is the basis on which descriptions of the postcrania of anchiceratops were based, exhibits numerous characteristics that are distinctive to the Chasmosaurinae. The vertebral column is comprised of seventy-four vertebrae, including ten of the neck, 13 sacrals, twelve dorsals as well as thirty nine caudals. The majority of chasmosaurines contain 12 dorsals, 10 sacrals, and as many as 46 tail vertebrae. Mallon believed that the synsacrum, which is the vertebrae that are fused to support the pelvis, was shifting towards the rear. Neck of NMC 8547 is incredibly long, and contains four syncervicals that are fused to the with cervical vertebrae anterior. The pelvis too is long. The tail is also short. The forelimbs are quite robust, with a massive deltopectoral crest in the humerus. This suggests an incredibly muscular.

Source: Wikipedia