New Triceratop-Like Dinosaur Discovered In China

Paleontologists have found the fossil of triceratop’s relative in China’s Shandong Province.

AsianScientist (Feb. 3, 2016) – A new leptoceratopsid dinosaur, Ischioceratops zhuchengensis, has been found in the bone-beds of the Upper Cretaceous Wangshi Group of Zhucheng, Shandong Province in China. The paleontologists’ findings were published on PLoS ONE.

The leptoceratopsids are a group of small, quadrupedal horned dinosaurs that have so far been found exclusively in the Upper Cretaceous of Asia and western North America. With a typical body length of about two meters, they are much smaller than the contemporary ceratopsids like the triceratops.

The incomplete, partially articulated specimen includes the entire sacrum, a few ossified tendons, both halves of the pelvis, the anterior-most 15 caudal vertebrae in an articulated series, and the right femur, tibia and fibula.

“Though lacking cranial elements, the newly collected specimen possesses some morphological features that identify it as a new leptoceratopsid,” said lead author Mr. He Yiming, a PhD student at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Photograph (left) and drawing (right) of Ischioceratops zhuchengensis in dorsal view. Credit: He Yiming
Photograph (left) and drawing (right) of Ischioceratops zhuchengensis in dorsal view. Credit: He Yiming

Leptoceratopsids are characterized by robust jaws equipped with highly specialized large teeth. Unlike ceratopsids, they lack horns and have extremely short frills. They share some of the advanced features seen in ceratopsids and are closely related to the latter group.

So far, three taxa have been described from the Upper Cretaceous of Asia: Asiaceratops salsopaludalis from Uzbekistan, Udanoceratops tschizhovi from Udan-Sayr, Mongolia, and Zhuchengceratops inexpectus from the Kugou locality, Zhucheng, China. This fossil represents the second leptoceratopsid dinosaur specimen recovered from the Kugou locality, a highly productive site. This locality, together with Longgujian (just 600 m north of Kugou) and Zangjiazhuang (5 km away from Kugou), has yielded numerous hadrosaurid bones.

The Zangjiazhuang locality has also produced several tyrannosaurid elements and some material atrributable to Sinoceratops zhuchengensis, the only undisputed ceratopsid from outside of North America.

The article can be found at: He et al. (2015) A New Leptoceratopsid (Ornithischia, Ceratopsia) with a Unique Ischium from the Upper Cretaceous of Shandong Province, China.

Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences.
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