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Categories: CeratopsiaHerbivoreAustraliaLate Cretaceous

SERENDIPACERATOPS

Pronunciation: seh-ren-dip-uh-ser-a-tops
Meaning: Serendip horned face
Named by: Vickers-Rich (2003)
Previous names: None known
First discovery: Victoria, Australia
Roar factor: ?/10

Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei

Upon discovery, Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich convinced themselves that the remains of Serendipaceratops belonged to a theropod. During a trip to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology and a glance at the corresponding remains of Leptoceratops they noted a striking similarity between the two and if their new theory could be substantiated not only would it push the origin of neoceratopsians back almost 30 million years but also shift it to the other side of the planet! A serendipitous find indeed.

However, a single forearm bone isn't the most reliable yardstick when trying to link your new find to something that obviously has a horned face, albeit a modest one, and when Agnolin and colleagues inspected said bone they couldn't find any features to unite it with neoceratopsia nor many to seperate it from an Australian ankylosaur called Minmi.

All that can really be said about Serendipaceratops with any certainty is that it's a "genasaurian" — a name used almost exclusively by its creator Paul Sereno for the ornithischian group that includes neornithischia (marginocephalians, ceratopsians, pachycephalosaurs, cerapods and ornithopods) and thyreophora (stegosaurs and ankylosaurs). You see how many dinosaurs Serendipaceratops could potentially be?
Etymology
Aside from ceratops which is derived from the Greek "ceras" (horn) and "ops" (face) even this critters name is muddled. Some say that it's named for Serendipity - "to find something by accident whilst looking for something entirely different" and others believe it refers to "Serendip" - the legendary name for Sri Lanka. The latter has nothing to do with its place of discovery but is, perhaps coincidently, the birth place of author Arthur C. Clarke who is honored in the species epithet arthurcclarkei.
Discovery
The only known remains of Serendipaceratops were discovered in the Wonthaggi Formation of the Strzelecki Group, in "The Arch" on the shore platform near the village of Kilcunda, Victoria, Australia, by Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich in the early 1990s. The holotype (NMV P186385) is a partial left ulna (lower arm bone).
References
• Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich (2000) "Dinosaurs of Darkness". /uk.
• F.L. Agnolin, M.D. Ezcurra, D.F. Pais and S.W. Salisbury (2010) "A reappraisal of the Cretaceous non-avian dinosaur faunas from Australia and New Zealand: Evidence for their Gondwanan affinities".
• P.C. Sereno (1986) "Phylogeny of the bird-hipped dinosaurs (order Ornithischia)".
• Michael J. Ryan, B. J. Chinnery-Allgeier, D. A. Eberth (2010) "New Perspectives on Horned Dinosaurs: The Royal Tyrrell Museum Ceratopsian Symposium". /uk.
• Rich, T.H., Kear, B.P., Sinclair, R., Chinnery, B., Carpenter, K., McHugh, M.L. & Vickers-Rich, P., 2014. Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei Rich & Vickers-Rich, 2003 is an Australian Early Cretaceous ceratopsian
Estimations
Timeline: Vital Stats:
Era: Mesozoic Est. Max. Length: ?
Period: Early Cretaceous Est. Max. Height: ?
Timespan: 118-110 million years ago Est. Max. Weight: ?
Age: Aptian-Albian Diet: Herbivorous
Family Tree:
Dinosauria
Ornithischia
Genasauria
Cerapoda?
Marginocephalia?
Ceratopsia?
Neoceratopsia?
Serendipaceratops
arthurcclarkei
             
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