Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
Microceratus or Microceratops (meaning "small-horned face" or "small-horned") is a genus of small ceratopsian dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous period in Asia. It walked on two legs, had short front arms, a characteristic ceratopsian frill and beak-like mouth, and was maybe 60 cm./2 ft. long. It was one of the first ceratopsians, or horned dinosaurs, along with Psittacosaurus in Mongolia.
The type species, "Microceratops" gobiensis, was first described by Bohlin in 1953. However, the generic name is not preoccupied by an ichneumon wasp (subfamily Gelinae) with the same name. Though much of the material has since been reassigned to the genus Graciliceratops, another great name Microceratus was created by Mateus in 2008 for the type specimen.
Microceratus belonged to the Ceratopsia (the name is Ancient Greek for "horned face"), a group of herbivorous dinosaurs with parrot-like beaks which thrived in North America and Asia during the Cretaceous Period, which ended roughly 65 million years ago. All ceratopsians became extinct at the end of this era.
Microceratus, like all ceratopsians, was a herbivore. During the Cretaceous, flowering plants were "geographically limited on the landscape", and so it is likely that this dinosaur fed on the predominant plants of the era: ferns, cycads and conifers. It would have used its sharp ceratopsian beak to bite off the leaves or needles.
In popular culture
- It was featured in Disney's Dinosaur.
- It appears on the Jurassic World website and is stated to be in the park, but it is unfortunately never seen in the film.
- While not in the trailers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom so far, it has been revealed that there are surviving Microceratus populations on Isla Nublar, but they and many other dinosaurs will now face an impending danger in the form of an erupting volcano.
- Barry Cox, Colin Harrison, R.J.G. Savage, and Brian Gardiner. (1999): The Simon & Schuster Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Creatures: A Visual Who's Who of Prehistoric Life. pg. 162 Simon & Schuster.
- David Norman . (2001): The Big Book Of Dinosaurs. pg. 317, 318, 319 and 326, Walcome books.