Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nasutuceratops Titusi

        Hey guys, today's post is about the recently discovered Nasutuceratops!

        Nasutuceratops was a Late Cretaceous dinosaur belonging to the family ceratopsidae, the same family as the famous Triceratops. The animal was about 4 meters long, 1.5 meters tall, and a ton in weight. It was discovered in Utah, which was, during the Cretaceous period, an enormous area of swamp land. This ceratopsid made a bit of a stir in the media thanks to its unusual name, which translates from latin to mean "Big nose horned face." However it is not the dinosaur's nose that is most peculiar, many other members of this family such as Pachyrhinosaurus had similar large sets of nares. It is the horns that make Nasutuceratops unique. Here's a comparison with Triceratops, see if you can spot it.
I drew those arrows myself. I'm so talented.
        It's the horns. Nasutuceratops had horns that, unlike the rest of its family, stuck horizontally down its face. These horns are confusing, since unlike other ceratopsids, they could not use them as self defense. On Triceratops, for example, the horns are pointing up, so if there was a large predator like a Tyrannosaurus, it would be able to thrust out its head and gore the enemy. Nasutuceratops' horns are not at an angle that would allow it to gore anything, and even if it tried to attack something lower down, its beak would get in the way. In my opinion, Nasutuceratops' genus probably evolved to have more head butting contests than its evolutionary siblings, contests in which large forward pointing horns could be broken or damaged. These flatter-to-the-face horns would also help to cushion blows when ramming each other. In this manner, they would be more like a Pachycephalosaurus in their mating and territorial disputes, rather than the rutting behavior scientists believe other members of ceratopsidae would have engaged in.

    (click to enlarge)
   And that about wraps up today's entry. Next time it will probably be an ammonite or something. I haven't done one of them yet.


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