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Wendiceratops
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
Horns34 wendiceratops by tuomaskoivurinne-d94edu9
An artist's illustration Wendiceratops pinhornensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
clade: Dinosauria
Family: Ceratopsidae
Genus: Wendiceratops
Evans & Ryan, 2015
Species: W. pinhornensis
Binomial name
Wendiceratops pinhornensis
Evans & Ryan, 2015

Wendiceratops (wen·di·cer·a·tops) is a genus of herbivorous centrosaurine ceratopsian dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Canada.[1]


Discovery[]

File:Wendiceratops parietal.PNG

Reconstruction of the parietal bones of Wendiceratops and other centrosaurines

 

In 2010, Canadian fossil hunter Wendy Sloboba found a centrosaurine bonebed in the Pinhorn Provincial Grazing Reserve south of Alberta. In 2011, a team of the Royal Tyrrell Museum explored the site and began excavating fossils. In 2013 and 2014, numerous fossils were discovered.[1]

In 2015, paleontologists David Evans and Michael Ryan named the type species Wendiceratops pinhornensis. The generic name combines Wendy Sloboda with a Latin word ceratops, meaning "horn face". The specific name refers to the provenance from the Pinhorn Reserve.[1] Wendiceratops was the second ceratopsian discovered in 2015.[2] The discovery of this new horned dinosaur species in Alberta, through scientific study and restoration, all the way to its eventual reconstruction and public display in The Royal Ontario Museum was captured in the HISTORY series and companion website Dino Hunt Canada.[3] 

The holotype, TMP 2011.051.0009, was found in a layer of the Oldman Formation, dating from the Campanian. The layer of mudstone, forty centimetres thick and possibly deposited in a single event, has an upper age of 79 million years and a lower age of 78.7 million years. The holotype consists of a right parietal bone. Under the assumption that the bonebed contained only a single centrosaurine species, all additional centrosaurine material was referred to Wendiceratops pinhornensis, for a total of 184 specimens representing several individuals, including juveniles. The bones are composed of elements from the skull, lower jaws, vertebral column, shoulder girdle, pelvis and limbs. They are largely disarticulated. In addition to the Wendiceratops bones, remains of tyrannosaurid theropods, crocodiles, gars and plants were found,too.[1]



Description[]

File:Wendiceratops restoration.PNG

Restoration

 

Wendiceratops was one ton heavy and a length of about six meters.[2]

The describing authors indicated two unique traits, autapomorphies. On the rear rim of the skull frill, the second and third epiparietals, the skin ossifications attached to the rim, have a wide base, are vertically thick and curve obliquely upwards to the front, overhanging the rear and outer side branches of the parietal bone. The ischium has an expanded rectangular lower end.[1]

Wendiceratops is further distinguished by the lack of a vertical spike on the rear frill and an erect nose horn. The Chinese Sinoceratops has similar epiparietals, but in addition a central midline epiparietal and bumps below the epiparietals that Wendiceratops didn't have.[1]



Evolutionary relationships[]

Wendiceratops was placed in the Centrosaurinae, as a sister species to Sinoceratops. Their clade formed a "comb" or polytomy with Albertaceratops, another centrosaurine from the same formation, and the clade of the more diverse and derived centrosaurines.[1]

The nose horn of Wendiceratops, erect but moderate size, was by the authors seen as a transition between the low horns of earlier forms like Diabloceratops, Nasutoceratops and Albertaceratops and the much taller horns of derived centrosaurines such as Coronosaurus, Centrosaurus and Styracosaurus.[1]



Paleobiology[]

Being found in the Oldman Formation, Wendiceratops coexisted with other dinosaurs such as Daspletosaurus, Paronychodon, Troodon, Albertaceratops, and Parasaurolophus. The authors pointed out that after the discovery of Wendiceratops, no less than five ceratopsians are known from the Oldman or coeval North-American formations, in addition to Albertaceratops also Judiceratops, Medusaceratops and Avaceratops. They assumed this was made possible by ecological specialisations and also indicated a quick succession of related species.[1]

Gallery[]

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