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GRACILICERATOPS

a plant-eating ceratopsian dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of China.
graciliceratops
Pronunciation: GRAS-i-li-SEH-ruh-tops
Meaning: Slender horn face
Author/s: Sereno (2000)
Synonyms: Microceratops
First Discovery: Ömnögovi, Mongolia
Chart Position: 384

Graciliceratops mongoliensis

If there was ever such a thing as a graceful ceratopsian—the "horn-faced" herbivores who would eventually evolve into huge, four-legged beasts—Graciliceratops is it. Apart from lacking even the faintest whiff of a horn on its face, the only known specimen of Graciliceratops was 80cm long, around 40cm high, and perhaps weighed 2 kg in life, and all of these features are explained by one simple fact... it was a mere juvenile.

Graciliceratops is based on an articulated skeleton (PAL MgD-I/156) from Shiregin Gashun which was once assigned to Microceratus (known at the time as Microceratops) in 1975 by Teresa Maryańska and Halszka Osmólska based on nothing more than a similarly modest size. But it was removed and renamed in 2000 by Paul Sereno who was less than complementary about the critter it was once assigned to and the state of its meagre and diognostic feature-dodging fossils.

Problem is, there's a good chance that Graciliceratops represents an immature form of an adult ceratopsian that is already known to science, but no-one has a clue what this adult form could be. All we know for sure is that Graciliceratops had a parrot-like beak, its frill was small and slender, and its shins were longer than its thighs which suggests it could run on its hind legs at a rate of knots.

As dinosaurs aren't mammals all young were born from eggs so mamma's milk was unavailable, and the young Graciliceratops, as all infant ceratopsians, ate whatever their parents did, in this case probably ferns, cycads and conifers.
(Slender horn face from Mongolia)Etymology
Graciliceratops is derived from the Latin "gracilis" (slender), and the Greek "ceras" (horn) and "ops" (face).
The species epithet, mongoliensis (MONG-go-lee-EN-sis), means "from Mongolia" in Latin.
Discovery
The remains of Graciliceratops were discovered in the Shiregin Gashun Formation, Ömnögovi (south Gobi) aimag (province), Mongolia, in 1975.
The holotype (PAL MgD-I/156) is a partial skeleton.
Estimations
Timeline:
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Cenomanian-Santonian
Age range: 99-84 mya
Stats:
Est. max. length: 0.8 meters
Est. max. hip height: 0.4 meters
Est. max. weight: 3 Kg
Diet: Herbivore
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Ornithischia
Cerapoda
Marginocephalia
Ceratopsia
Graciliceratops
mongoliensis
References
• P. C. Sereno (2000) "The fossil record, systematics and evolution of pachycephalosaurs and ceratopsians from Asia" in Benton, Shishkin, Unwin, and Kurochkin "The Age of Dinosaurs in Russia and Mongolia".
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "GRACILICERATOPS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 30th Mar 2017.
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