Get our new book 50 Dinosaur Tales here: http://bit.ly/50dinosaurtales
Episode 260 is all about Leptoceratops, A small late cretaceous ceratopsian that may have switched between a two and four-legged stance.
Interview with Matthew Mossbrucker, the director and chief curator at the Morrison Natural History Museum in Colorado where he studies the type section of the Morrison Formation. He’s also on the board of the Paleon Museum where he leads digs with the public. Check out his work at the Morrison’s Facebook page.
Big thanks to all our patrons! Your support means so much to us and keeps us going! If you’re a dinosaur enthusiast, join our growing community on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/iknowdino.
You can listen to our free podcast, with all our episodes, on Apple Podcasts at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/i-know-dino/id960976813?mt=2
In this episode, we discuss:
- A new Megarptorid was found in Australia, it looks a lot like Australovenator, but it might be too old source
- Another Alaskan tracksite, the Chignik Formation, recovers a huge number of hadrosaurids at the beach source
- A new study looked at Tristan the T.rex’s tooth replacement and found an alternating replacement pattern source
- Three baby Protoceratops at Southern Illinois Laboratory have been given new nicknames source
The dinosaur of the day: Leptoceratops
- Ceratopsian that lived in the Late Cretaceous in what is now Western North America (Alberta, Canada and Wyoming, US)
- Estimated to be about 6.6 ft (2 m) long and weigh 150-441 lb (68 to 200 kg)
- Both quadrupedal and bipedal (could probably stand and run on two legs, and could walk on four legs, though couldn’t pronate hands)
- A 2007 study found Leptoceratops kept its hands in a “clapping” pose
- Had short, downward pointing horns near the cheeks
- Had a frill
- Had a leaf shaped tail
- Had short, deep jaws, and a powerful bite
- Could shear and crush plant matter
- Probably able to chew tough vegetation
- Probably was a low browser (ferns and conifers)
- One study in 2016 by Frank Varriale (pubilshed in PeerJ) found the dental microwear on Leptoceratops teeth was similar to some rodents, and Leptoceratops is “the first evidence of complex, mammal-like chewing in a ceratopsian dinosaur”
- Type species is Leptoceratops gracilis
- Genus name means “little horned face”
- Found in 1910 by Barnum Brown in the Red Deer Valley in Alberta, Canada (no skull found at first, but later more fossils found by C. M. Sternberg in 1947, and more fossils found in the Bighorn Basin in Wyoming in 1978, and that one is nicknamed “Lance”)
- Brown found two skeletons but they were on a cattle pathway, and the cows trampled the exposed fossils
- Brown described Leptoceratops in 1914
- Some fossils found in Montana in 1942 were called Leptoceratops cerorhynchos, but later renamed to Montanoceratops
- In 2003, a lower arm bone (single ulna) was found in Australia and Patricia and Thomas Rich found it looked similar to Leptoceratops, so they named it the ceratopsian Serendipaceratops. Some scientists think not enough is known about it, but if it is related to Leptoceratops, it could change what we know about ceratopsian evolution (no other ceratopsians found in Australia)
- Can see Leptoceratops at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa
Fun Fact: Dinosaurs have been in space at least twice (not including any bits that may have been launched out of the atmosphere during the Chicxulub impact).