The days are getting shorter, but that does not bother Pentaceratops aquilonius. Years ago, Pentaceratops aquilonius’ family had moved up north, in hopes of finding more vegetation. Food was hard to share, especially among the chasmosaurs, who were not afraid to use their horns to fight for fresh plants.
Pentaceratops aquilonius was small for a horned dinosaur, only about the size of a buffalo. However, Pentaceratops aquilonius did have five horns on its face, which often gave it an advantage.
On this late autumn night, Pentaceratops aquilonius does not have to worry about how to get its dinner. It wanders just far enough away from its herd so that it can still hear any warning calls, but still eat in peace. Even when there is plenty of food around, it seems Pentaceratops aquilonius and its family cannot get enough.
Pentaceratops aquilonius bites off a mouthful of leaves with its sharp beak and chews, content. Needles are nestled within the leaves, but they don’t bother Pentaceratops aquilonius. The crunching sounds of its cheek teeth are soothing, and Pentaceratops aquilonius relaxes.
But the wonder of solitude does not last long. Pentaceratops aquilonius hears a different kind of crunching sound, the kind of sound hooves stepping on leaves make. Annoyed, Pentaceratops aquilonius turns to see its brother.
The brother faces Pentaceratops aquilonius and thrusts its head up, showing off its five horns. It’s a sign of defiance, and Pentaceratops aquilonius knows it will now have to defend its meal.
Even with so much vegetation around, Pentaceratops aquilonius brother is jealous of the tasty morsels Pentaceratops aquilonius has found for itself. Pentaceratops aquilonius swallows its food and then gets ready to battle.
It scratches its hooves in the dirt and waits. Pentaceratops aquilonius brother charges, letting out a large bellow in an attempt to sound scarier.
The tactic doesn’t work. Pentaceratops aquilonius steps to the side, avoiding its brother’s sharp horns. This puts Pentaceratops aquilonius brother off balance, and he stumbles, briefly. But his error is enough for Pentaceratops aquilonius to hit his side with one of its horns.
Pentaceratops aquilonius brother whimpers in pain, and slinks away. Some blood drips from the wound, but it is a surface scratch and will heal.
A few others in the herd step closer to see what the fuss is all about, but when they see the blood and one of their own limping away, the other looking big and proud, they understand the situation. They move on.
Pentaceratops aquilonius lets out a grunt, for good measure, and then turns its attention back to its dinner. But with its adrenaline running high, the plants no longer look as enticing.
Pentaceratops aquilonius decides its time to move on to another spot to eat. It takes a quick look around, but none of the nearby ferns strike its fancy. It decides the better options must be elsewhere, where other members of the herd are eating.
Pentaceratops aquilonius makes its way towards another member of the herd, which is happily chewing on some fresh leaves.
Facts about Pentaceratops Aquilonius:
- Pentaceratops aquilonius lived about 75 million years ago
- Dr. Nick Longrich discovered Pentaceratops aquilonius in 2014, after its fossils had been gathering dust at a Canadian museum for more than 75 years
- Pentaceratops aquilonius was like a primitive version of Pentaceratops sternbergii
- Pentaceratops aquilonius belongs to the chasmosaur family, but was small for its kind (size of a buffalo, smaller compared to its cousin Triceratops)
- Pentaceratops aquilonius had five horns on its face and a different shaped frill
Find out more in the I Know Dino podcast, episode 15, “Pentaceratops.”
- “Pentaceratops” on Wikipedia
- “New species of dinosaur discovered lying forgotten in a museum” on PhysOrg
- “The horned dinosaurs Pentaceratops and Kosmoceratops from the upper Campanian of Alberta and implications for dinosaur biogeography” on Science Direct
- “Paleontologist Discovers Two New Species of Horned Dinosaurs” on Sci-News
- “New horned dinosaur species identified from museum’s fossils” on BBC
- “New dinosaur discovered – in Ottawa museum” on Haaretz
- “Dinosaur species discovered among fossils stored at Canadian museum for decades” on CBC News