October 22nd, 2021
With Dr. Ryan’s presentation tomorrow this #fossilfriday is about a species he helped scientifically describe and name. Albertaceratops nesmoi is a very important specimen of horned ceratopsian dinosaur because it has some unique features and comes from an important time in the evolution of this group of dinosaurs. It lived in southern Alberta about 77.5 million years ago in the Campanian age of the late Cretaceous. Known from a single skull, this species is one of the earliest and most basal Centrosaurinae. What this means is that it lived very near to the evolutionary split between the Chasmosaurines (large brow horns, small nasal horn and less ornamented frills such as Triceratops) and the Centrosaurines (small brown horns, larger nasal horn, and more ornamented frills such as Styracosaurus). While it is more Centrosaurine-like with large frill horns and a nasal bump instead of a horn, it has some features like very large brow horns that show Albertaceratops retained some features of the common ancestor of both groups. This mix of features show Albertaceratops is a fascinating and important member of the Ceratopsian family of dinosaurs.