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Cranial morphology of a juvenile Triceratops skull from the Hell Creek Formation, McCone County, Montana, with comments on the fossil record of ontogenetically younger skulls

Mark B. Goodwin and John R. Horner
Cranial morphology of a juvenile Triceratops skull from the Hell Creek Formation, McCone County, Montana, with comments on the fossil record of ontogenetically younger skulls (in Through the end Cretaceous in the the type locality of the Hell Creek Formation in Montana and adjacent areas, Gregory P. Wilson (editor), William A. Clemens (editor), John R. Horner (editor) and Joseph H. Hartman (editor))
Special Paper - Geological Society of America (January 2014) 503: 333-347

Abstract

Here, we describe a juvenile Triceratops sp. skull, UCMP 136306, from the Hell Creek Formation, McCone County, Montana. The relative completeness and superb preservation of this skull contribute to an improved understanding of the cranial ontogeny, morphology, and individual variation in TRICERATOPS: Total skull length is 120 cm long (est.). UCMP 136306 is one of the most complete Triceratops skulls of this ontogenetic stage yet known. The cranial sutures are patent, and most are overlapping with minimal sinuosity, modest interdigitation, and overlapping flat sutural surfaces. The following cranial elements are preserved and described in this study: epinasal, rostral, quadrate, quadratojugal, jugal, pterygoid, dentary, surangular, postorbital horn, parietal, squamosal, epiparietal, episquamosal, occipital condyle, supraoccipital, and exoccipital. For decades following the initial description of Triceratops by O.C. Marsh in 1889, the typical collector attitude was "bigger is better." Emerging scientific institutions and museums with newly constructed exhibit halls demanded the biggest and newest dinosaurs. We hypothesize that this historical practice, influenced by facies and taphonomic factors in the Upper Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation, Montana (and contemporaneous formations in neighboring states), resulted in the underrepresentation of nonadult Triceratops in museum collections. This practice contributed to the false notion that nonadult Triceratops specimens are rarely preserved in the fossil record, until now.


ISSN: 0072-1077
EISSN: 2331-219X
Coden: GSAPAZ
Serial Title: Special Paper - Geological Society of America
Serial Volume: 503
Title: Cranial morphology of a juvenile Triceratops skull from the Hell Creek Formation, McCone County, Montana, with comments on the fossil record of ontogenetically younger skulls
Title: Through the end Cretaceous in the the type locality of the Hell Creek Formation in Montana and adjacent areas
Author(s): Goodwin, Mark B.Horner, John R.
Author(s): Wilson, Gregory P.editor
Author(s): Clemens, William A.editor
Author(s): Horner, John R.editor
Author(s): Hartman, Joseph H.editor
Affiliation: University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, CA, United States
Affiliation: University of Washington, Department of Biology, Seattle, WA, United States
Pages: 333-347
Published: 201401
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
ISBN: 978-0-8137-2503-1
References: 23
Accession Number: 2015-026154
Categories: Vertebrate paleontology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sketch map
N47°07'60" - N48°10'00", W106°34'60" - W105°13'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of California, Berkeley, USA, United StatesMontana State University, USA, United StatesUniversity of North Dakota, USA, United StatesMontana State University, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201513
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