Dinosaurs unbound

Pronounced - ZOO-nee-SAIR-a-tops
Named By - Douglas G. Wolfe and James I. Kirkland
When Named - 1998
DIET: Herbivore (plant-eater)
SIZE: Length - roughly 10-11 feet (3-3.5 m) long
Height - about 3.3 ft (1 m) tall at the hips
Weight - about 100-115 pounds (200-250 kg)
WHEN IT LIVED: Late middle Cretaceous period, about 93-89 million years ago
WHERE IT LIVED: Fossils have been found the Moreno Hill Formation, New Mexico, United States, North America.
FOSSILS: One Zuniceratops skull and a few other bones have been found. Zuniceratops was discovered in 1996 by Christopher James Wolfe (son of paleontologist Douglas G. Wolfe), who was 8 years old at the time.
  • Kingdom Animalia (animals)
  • Phylum Chordata (having a hollow nerve chord ending in a brain)
  • Class Archosauria (diapsids with socket-set teeth, etc.)
  • Order Ornithischia - bird-hipped dinosaurs (plant-eaters)
  • Suborder Marginocephalia - (meaning "fringed heads")
  • Infraorder Ceratopsia (also called Ceratopia)
  • Family Coronosauria (horned dinosaurs)
  • Genus Zuniceratops
  • Species Z. christopheri (type species named by Wolfe and Kirkland, 1998)
Zuniceratops is the earliest-known ceratopsian to have eyebrow horns. It also had a nasal horn.

Location:Western U.S.
  This is the oldest known member of the horned dinosaur family to actually have horns over its eyes. Christopher Wolfe, the 9-year-old son of scientist Doug Wolfe, found this rather small ancestor of Triceratops. It was a plant-eater which probably lived in herds.

This dinosaur is important for a number of reasons. It had small brow horns and is a nice example of an evolutionary transition between the earlier frilled dinosaurs such as Protoceratops, which it closely resembles, and the later, larger ceratopsians that had some very large horns and frills. It also supports the theory that the ceratopsian dinosaur lineage may have a North American origin.

It was found in the Zuni formation, named for a Native American tribe. This North American formation has yielded a number of very important Cretaceous fossils.

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