Ceratopsia

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Ceratopsia

[‚ser·ə′täp·sē·ə]
(paleontology)
The horned dinosaurs, a suborder of Upper Cretaceous reptiles in the order Ornithischia.

Ceratopsia

 

(horned dinosaurs), a suborder of reptiles of the order Ornithischia. Horned dinosaurs lived during the Late Cretaceous in Central Asia (the most ancient representatives) and in South and North America. They resembled rhinoceroses and had a body length to 6 m. The neck was encircled by a “frill” of proliferated skull bones. The frill served as protection against predators. The majority of ceratopsians had between one and five horns on the head and, sometimes, accessory bony spines along the edges of the frill. The anterior portion of the jaws formed the “bill.” The teeth were arranged in several rows and served for grinding plant substances. The anterior cervical vertebrae, which supported the heavy skull, were usually concresced. The feet were hoofed. Horned dinosaurs lived in the forest steppe and in meadows near water. They were among the last dinosaurs, becoming extinct at the end of the Cretaceous.

References in periodicals archive ?
This paper deals specifically with the issue of gait in ceratopsian dinosaurs.
The assertion that ceratopsian limb bones are so massively shafted that they are evidence of adaptation to stresses engendered by galloping subsumes this relationship between bone diameter and length, and implies that the diameters of ceratopsian limbs are larger than would be expected based on the scaling equation.
Recently, dimensional data were collected (as part of a study on ceratopsian forelimb osteology) (Adams, 1991b) that permit derivation of a scaling equation for humeral diameter within the suborder Ceratopsia, and, therefore, investigation of the types of dimensional scaling changes that are adaptive to increased stresses.
Johnson says that Torosaurs, Triceratops and probably all ceratopsian dinosaurs had sprawling lizard-like forelimbs after all, and therefore could not gallop.
Rigby proposes that horns were arranged to protect against accidental injuries to the ceratopsian frill -- a thin layer of bone sticking out from the back of the skull like a huge shield.
In support of this radiator idea for ceratopsian dinosaurs, Rigby described an unusual preparation of a Triceratops skull from east-central Montana.
Together, this evidence of gregarious behaviors suggests that ceratopsians developed complex social behaviors long before they possessed extreme cranial ornamentations, says Barrett.
Among the last dinosaurs to survive were Montana's and Alberta's hadrosaurs and ceratopsians, the latter so common that paleontologist Robert Bakker of the University of Colorado calls them "Cretaceous cockroaches.
They've found more than 300 dinosaurs from 35 species, duck-billed hadrosaurs to horned ceratopsians.
Other dinosaurs, like ceratopsians and hadrosaurs, had them too.
Hadrosaurs or duck-billed dinosaurs, along with the small ornithopod Thescelosaurus, preferred to live along the edge of rivers, while Ceratopsians preferred to be several miles inland.
And among some 10,000 bones I finally discovered four other specimens that could be related to ceratopsians.