Friday, December 31, 2010
First "New" Ceratopsid of 2011
The journal Cretaceous Research published an "accepted manuscript" by Nick Longrich in which he suggests that the McLargeHuge Pentaceratops specimen shown above (OMNH 10165) actually belongs to a separate genus, Titanoceratops, and that said genus is the earliest reprentative of the Triceratopsini, an end-Cretaceous group of giant chasmosaurine ceratopsids comprised of Eotriceratops and "Toroceratops."* Among other issues, Bill Parker has voiced his concern over the practice of journals posting unpublished manuscripts on their websites, a sentiment I share.
I'm going to hold off on my critique until Titanoceratops is actually published, but I'm a little iffy about the lines of evidence brought up in the manuscript. I had a few of the same problems with Mojoceratops, but I certainly wouldn't mind if the Austin Powers dinosaur remained viable, if only for it's awesome name. One positive is that the original skull of OMNH 10165 is lacking most of the frill--the reconstruction above is largely extrapolated. So, you know...there's that.
Godspeed, Titanoceratops. It looks like 2011 may be shaping up to be another good year for horned dinosaurs, valid or otherwise.
*Still waiting to see how this turns out. So sue me.