Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 90Ma
Nesov et al., 1989
|Species:||† T. tardabilis|
Nesov et al., 1989
Turanoceratops ("Turan horn face") is a ceratopsian dinosaur from the late Cretaceous Bissekty Formation of Uzbekistan. The fossils are dated to the mid-late Turonian, roughly 90 million years ago. The skull bore a pair of long brow horns like those seen in the Ceratopsidae, although Turanoceratops appears to have been transitional between earlier ceratopsians and ceratopsids, and not a ceratopsid itself. It appears to have been most similar to Zuniceratops, a primitive horned dinosaur from the Turonian of North America.
Turanoceratops belonged to the Ceratopsia (the name is Greek for "horned face"), a group of herbivorous dinosaurs with parrot-like beaks which thrived in North America and Asia during the Cretaceous Period, which ended 66 million years ago. All ceratopsians became extinct at the end of this period. A 2009 study led by Hans-Dieter Sues analysed additional fossil material of Turanoceratops and concluded that, contrary to expectations, it represented a true (though "transitional") member of the family Ceratopsidae. If correct, it would represent an Asian ceratopsid. At the time of publication this would have been unique, as all other ceratopsids known to that point were from North America. Some scientists, such as Andrew Farke, disagreed with Sues' findings. Farke and colleagues ran an independent phylogenetic analysis of the new Turanoceratops fossils and found that it was a close relative of Ceratopsidae (the immediate sister group) but was not a true member of that clade. Sues and Alexander Averianov criticised that analysis, arguing that Farke and colleagues misinterpreted or mis-coded some characteristics of the fossil in their analysis. However, Xu et al. (2010) conducted a phylogenetic analysis and concluded that Turanoceratops was more derived than Zuniceratops and was outside of Ceratopsidae, because it lacks several important synapomorphies of this group.
Turanoceratops, like all ceratopsians, was a herbivore.
- Sues, H.-D., and Averianov, A. (2009). "Turanoceratops tardabilis—the first ceratopsid dinosaur from Asia." Naturwissenschaften, doi:10.1007/s00114-009-0518-9.
- Farke, A., Sampson, S.D., Forster, C.A., Loewen, M.A. (2009). "Turanoceratops tardabilis—sister taxon, but not a ceratopsid." Naturwissenschaften, 7 May 2009. doi:10.1007/s00114-009-0543-8.
- Sues, H.-D. and Averianov, A. (2009). "Phylogenetic position of Turanoceratops (Dinosauria: Ceratopsia)." Naturwissenschaften, 20 May 2009. doi:10.1007/s00114-009-0552-7.
- Ceratopsia at Thescelosaurus!