Bunny-Size Dinosaur Was First of Its Kind in America
Newly described relative of Triceratops was the continent's first horned dinosaur.
A tiny horned skull discovered 17 years ago has now been named Aquilops americanus, and marks the earliest arrival of horned dinosaurs in North America.
The fossil skull is the oldest definitive evidence of a ceratopsian, the group of horned dinosaurs that includes Triceratops, on the continent. Paleontologists describe the dinosaur Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.
Named Aquilops for its "eagle-faced" appearance, the dinosaur was quite small. Based on comparisons with similar ceratopsians from Asia, paleontologist Andrew Farke expects that Aquilops was no more than two feet long (0.6 meter) and weighed about three and a half pounds (1.6 kilograms)—"about as much as a large bunny rabbit."
While the skull bones indicate that Aquilops was the dinosaur equivalent of an adolescent,