Episode 234 is all about Agathaumas, the ceratopsid that was a ceratopsid before we knew what ceratopsids were.
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In this episode, we discuss:
- A single wing of Alcmonavis, the larger cousin of Archaeopteryx was described source
- Thomas Carr visited the Tufts-Love T. Rex and thinks it might help settle the Nanotyrannus debate source
- Maximo the titanosaur at the Field Museum now has its own AI messaging program source
- Thanks to a recent donation, Rowan University plans to build a new Fossil Park source
- Scotty the T. rex is on display in Eastend, Saskatchewan, Canada source
- The Houston Zoo in Texas has a dinosaur exhibit from May 25 until September 2 this year source
- The owner of the Flintstones style house in In California is being sued for adding dinosaurs and landscaping source
The dinosaur of the day: Agathaumas
- Ceratopsid that lived in the Late Cretaceous in what is now Wyoming, U.S.
- Dubious genus (nomen dubium) because not many fossils found, and of those found, nothing diagnostic
- Not much found, only hip bones, hip vertebrae, and ribs
- Bones are part of the AMNH collections
- Estimated to be about 30 ft (9 m) long, and weigh 6 tonnes
- Found in 1872, by Fielding Bradford Meek and Henry Martyn Bannister, who were looking for fossil shells (worked for Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden’s Geological Survey of the Territories)
- They let Edward Cope know, and Cope published a name and description later that year, 1872
- First named ceratopsian
- When it was discovered, it was the largest known land animal
- Name means “great wonder”
- Cope named it Agathaumas sylvestris (“marvelous fossil dweller”) because it was so large, and because the fossils were found in rock that indicated a forest habitat (leaf fossils)
- In 1873 Cope said it was “the wreck of one of the princes among giants”
- Because Agathaumas was the first named ceratopsian (before ceratopsians were a thing), Cope didn’t know how to classify it, and considered it to be a hadrosaur until Marsh described Triceratops in 1889
- Other species were considered to be Agathaumas (flabellatus, milo, monoclonius, mortuarius, prorsus, sphenocerus) but were later found to be either nomen dubium or included with other genera (three of them became Triceratops)
- Possibly a synonym of Triceratops, but hard to tell because not enough fossils
- No skull material found for Agathaumas (would help to determine if it is a separate genus)
- Charles Knight illustrated Agathaumas in 1897, based on the partial skull of Agathaumas sphenocerus (later known as Monoclonius sphenocerus and then possibly Styracosaurus), and gave it a large nasal horn and small horns over the eyes
- Knight’s painting was used as a model for Agathaumas in the 1925 silent film, The Lost World
- Painting was of Agathaumas sphenocerus, not the type species Agathaumas sylvestris
Fun Fact: Birds have very different leg proportions from the extinct theropod dinosaurs we know and love, so even flightless birds may not be a great model for theropod movement.