Not long ago, I was visiting the Alaska Museum of Natural History for reasons that are forgotten to me now. I try not to go over there, in fact. It's an active aversion--every time I get the urge to see "how they're doing," I just remember that my name, Scott's name, and Raven's name are still not anywhere near the big Tyrannosaurus rex skull cast that we restored over a year's time and put our backs into and got NO support and there's NO acknowledgement of our contribution to that particular project. In fact, I doubt our names are anywhere IN the museum, even though all three of us (but mostly Scott and I) have been heavily invested in exhibit prep, tours, etc. in the past.
Makes me mad.
Anyway, the museum's "director," Katch Batchelor, told me that they were getting a Diabloceratops skull cast (this was before that genus was published). She was very excited. I asked why she's wasting the museum's money on a taxon from Utah that lived millions and millions of years before Alaska's Pachyrhinosaurus. In fact, why isn't she getting a Pachyrhinosaurus skull cast? The terrible Fairbanks museum has one. If they can get one, it can't be all that difficult to get ahold of.
Her answer was "People don't 'get' Pachyrhinosaurus." I took this to mean that SHE did not "get" Pachyrhinosaurus. Here's my question: What's to GET?"
There's very little to misunderstand here. Pachyrhinosaurus is a derived member of the Centrosaurinae, which itself is one of the two branches of the Ceratopsidae. The other branch is called the Chasmosaurinae, and it features such well-known taxa as Triceratops, Chasmosaurus (go figure), and Kosmoceratops. The Centrosaurinae is just as diverse, and from there you get good old Centrosaurus, Rubeosaurus, and Diabloceratops. At the upper end of the Centrosaurinae is a monophyletic group of ceratopsids with big nasofrontal bosses instead of horns. They're called pachyrhinosaurines. The group includes two genera comprising three species (Achelousaurus horneri, Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis, and Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai), and several specimens that may represent more distinct species. The group extends from Montana up the west coast of the United States going all the way up to...you guessed it...Alaska's North Slope.
The holotype pachyrhinosaur skull from the Prince Creek Formation on the Colville River is not in great shape, but clearly represents a pachyrhinosaurine.
Right now, the Alaska Museum of Natural History looks more like an odds-and-ends collection of stuff, completely lacking any sort of context or reason for being. When you have a monitor lizard skeleton with an Ornithocheirus skull and a Basilosaurus skull just sitting on the same shelf, but without any sort of text...and in fact, you have a beluga whale skeleton just around the corner, WHAT DOES IT MEAN? And why aren't there any Alaskan dinosaurs? I could go on and on about my misgivings with the AKMNH, but it's useless. They don't even want to use the world "evolution" in fear of scaring people away.