How well do you know Styracosaurus?
Do you know Styracosaurus?
“The evolutionary origins of Styracosaurus were not understood for many years because fossil evidence for early ceratopsians was sparse. The discovery of Protoceratops, in 1922, shed light on early ceratopsid relationships, but several decades passed before additional finds filled in more of the blanks. Fresh discoveries in the late 1990s and 2000s, including Zuniceratops, the earliest known ceratopsian with brow horns, and Yinlong, the first
These new discoveries have been important in illuminating the origins of horned dinosaurs in general, and suggest that the group originated during the Jurassic in Asia, with the appearance of true horned ceratopsians occurring by the beginning of the late Cretaceous in North America.
Goodwin and colleagues proposed in 1992 that Styracosaurus was part of the lineage leading to Einiosaurus, Achelousaurus and Pachyrhinosaurus. This was based on a series of fossil skulls from the Two Medicine Formation of Montana.
The position of Styracosaurus in this lineage is now equivocal, as the remains that were thought to represent Styracosaurus have been transferred to the genus Rubeosaurus.
Styracosaurus is known from a higher position in the formation than the closely related Centrosaurus, suggesting that Styracosaurus displaced Centrosaurus as the environment changed over time and/or dimension. It has been suggested that Styracosaurus albertensis is a direct descendant of Centrosaurus, and that it in turn evolved directly into the slightly later species Rubeosaurus ovatus. Subtle changes can be traced in the arrangement of the horns through this lineage, leading from Rubeosaurus to Einiosaurus, to Achelousaurus and Pachyrhinosaurus.
However, the lineage may not be a simple, straight line, as a pachyrhinosaur-like species has been reported from the same time and place as Styracosaurus albertensis.”
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