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What is Cerapoda?

Pronunciation: SER-a-POHD-a
Author: Paul Sereno
Year: 1986
Meaning: Horned feet
Locomotion: Bipedal or Quadrupedal (two or four legs)
Synonyms: None known
Barrett, Butler and Knoll, 2005Definition
Triceratops horridus, Parasaurolophus walkeri, their most recent common ancestor, and all descendants.
About

Cerapoda is a combination of Ceratopsia (horned faces) and Ornithopoda (bird feet) so literally means "horned feet". Unfortunately, non of its members have horned feet, but they are on common ground because of their enamelled teeth.

Cerapoda also includes the pachycephalosaurs, affectionately known as "head-bangers", so maybe it should have been called Pachycerapoda "thick-horned-feet", or properly Marginocerapoda "fringe-horned-feet" (as the pachycephalosaurs and ceratopsians together form a cerapodan group known as Marginocephalia, the "fringe heads"). Granted, neither name improves on the original but either would eliminate possible linguistic confusion: if you say Ceropoda really fast it sounds suspiciously like Sauropoda which is a completely different kettle of dinosaurs.

Paul Sereno coined Cerapoda a full year after Cooper had coined Neornithischia, and for all intents and purposes the two groups contained exactly the same members, which resulted in a mild case of "handbags at dawn" between certain palaeontologists with regards to naming priorities and whatnot. However, Neornithischia has been expanded and now houses Cerapoda plus a small handful of non-cerapodan neornithischians, so it all worked out in the end.

Click here to search Dinochecker for cerapods.
Relationships
References
• P.M. Barrett, R.J. Butler & F. Knoll (2005) "Small-bodied ornithischian dinosaurs from the Middle Jurassic of Sichuan, China".
• Jeremy Martin, David Blackburn and E. O. Wiley (2011. Ver.2) "Are node-based and stem-based clades equivalent? Insights from graph theory".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "DinoChecker FAQ entry :: What is Cerapoda?"
http://www.dinochecker.com/dinosaurfaqs/what-is-cerapoda›. Web access: 28th Apr 2017.
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