Miniature ‘Triceratops’ Ancestor Discovered : Discovery News
The oldest and smallest horned dinosaur in North America finally gets a name after decades of research.
The little horned dinosaur (Gryphoceratops morrisoni), measuring 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) long, lived about 83 million years ago.
The new study, published in the journal Cretaceous Research on Jan 24, also details another newly named species of horned dinosaur: Unescopceratops koppelhusae, which lived 75 million years ago, in what is now Alberta, Canada.
“These dinosaurs fill important gaps in the evolutionary history of small-bodied horned dinosaurs that lack the large horns and frills of relatives like Triceratops from North America,” study researcher Michael Ryan, curator at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, said in a statement. “Although horned dinosaurs originated in Asia, our analysis suggests that leptoceratopsids [which includes these horned dinosaurs] radiated to North America and diversified here, since the new species, Gryphoceratops, is the earliest record of the group on this continent.”