Micropachycephalosaurus

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Micropachycephalosaurus
Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 69.5 Ma
Micropachycephalosaurus ilium.jpg
Drawing of the ilium
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Genus: Micropachycephalosaurus
Dong, 1978
Species: M. hongtuyanensis
Binomial name
Micropachycephalosaurus hongtuyanensis
Dong, 1978

Micropachycephalosaurus (meaning "small thick-headed lizard") is a monotypic genus of ceratopsian dinosaur. It lived in China during the Late Cretaceous period (between 70.6 and 68.5 million years ago).[1] The incomplete skeleton of the single specimen was found on a cliff southwest of Laiyang, Shandong Province. It was bipedal and herbivorous, and currently has the longest generic name of any dinosaur. Ironically, it was also among the smallest of the dinosaurs, at 1 meter (3.3 feet) long.[2]

Taxonomy[edit]

Restoration

The genus contains only the type species, Micropachycephalosaurus hongtuyanensis. Paleontologist Dong Zhiming originally described it as a member of the Pachycephalosauria, a group of bipedal dome-headed herbivores. However, re-evaluation of the family Pachycephalosauridae by Sullivan in 2006 cast doubt on this assignment.[3] Further study of the original specimens by Butler and Zhao in 2008 also failed to find any characteristics linking Micropachycephalosaurus with the pachycephalosaurs. The one piece of evidence that could provide this link, the supposedly thickened skull roof, was missing from the fossil collection the scientists examined, and so could not be used to support or refute its original classification. Butler and Zhao therefore classified it as an indeterminate member of the Cerapoda.[2] In 2011, cladistic analysis performed by Butler et al. showed that Micropachycephalosaurus is a basal member of the Ceratopsia.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Holtz, Thomas R. Jr. (2011) Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages, Winter 2010 Appendix.
  2. ^ a b Butler, R.J. & Zhao, Q. (2009). "The small-bodied ornithischian dinosaurs Micropachycephalosaurus hongtuyanensis and Wannanosaurus yansiensis from the Late Cretaceous of China". Cretaceous Research. 30 (1): 63–77. doi:10.1016/j.cretres.2008.03.002. 
  3. ^ Sullivan, R.M. (2006). "A taxonomic review of the Pachycephalosauridae (Dinosauria: Ornithischia)." New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin, 35: 347-365.
  4. ^ Richard J. Butler, Jin Liyong, Chen Jun, Pascal Godefroit (2011). "The postcranial osteology and phylogenetic position of the small ornithischian dinosaur Changchunsaurus parvus from the Quantou Formation (Cretaceous: Aptian–Cenomanian) of Jilin Province, north-eastern China". Palaeontology. 54 (3): 667–683. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4983.2011.01046.x.