microceratops

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Seven new dinosaurs were unveiled on the official Jurassic World website today. Visitors to the site can now learn about the park’s pteranodon, dimorphodon, microceratus, edmontosaurus, metriacanthosaurus, baryonyx, and suchomimus.

The illustrations of pteranodon and dimorphodon (both seen in the latest trailer) are in the same rendered style as the other dinosaurs on the site known to be in the film, whereas the rest of today’s reveals were designed by famed paleoartist Julius Csotonyi in his more naturalistic style, leading some to suspect these dinosaurs may not appear much in the movie, if at all. 

Some interesting trivia: Microceratus appeared in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park novel (under the nomen dubium “microceratops”); the name metricanthosaurus appears on one of the embryo vials in the original Jurassic Park film; baryonyx is purported to exist in the park in the first movie (although not seen onscreen), and it and suchomimus are mentioned in Jurassic Park III. So the inclusion of these species in Jurassic World material is nice reference to the original source and previous films in the series.

Forgotten Jurassic Park Moments:

“Tim heard the cry of birds, and saw small chirping dinosaurs leaping among the branches. But mostly it was silent, the air hot and still beneath the canopy of trees…Up in the branches, small pale yellow barely two feet tall, hopped from tree to tree. They had beaky heads, like parrots. "You know what they call those?’ Tim said, "Microceratops.”- Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park

Although now they’re called Microceratus, since the name Microceratops belongs to a,wasp species, of all things.

The small horned face, Microceratops = Microceratus (1953)

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Reptilia
Order : Ornithischia
Suborder : Ceratopsia
Genus : Microceratus
Species : M. gobiensis

  • Late Cretaceous ( 90 Ma)
  • 60 cm long and 10 kg (size)
  • Mongolia (map)

Microceratus is a genus of small ceratopsian dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous period in Asia. It walked on two legs, had short front arms, a characteristic ceratopsian frill and beak-like mouth, and was maybe 0.6 m long. It was one of the first ceratopsians, or horned dinosaurs, along with Psittacosaurus in Mongolia.

The type species, “Microceratops” gobiensis, was first described by Bohlin in 1953. However, the generic name was already preoccupied by an ichneumon wasp (subfamily Gelinae) with the same name. Though much of the material has since been reassigned to the genus Graciliceratops, a replacement name Microceratus was created by Mateus in 2008 for the type specimen.

Microceratus belonged to the Ceratopsia (the name is Ancient 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 roughly 65 million years ago. All ceratopsians became extinct at the end of this era.

Microceratus, like all ceratopsians, was a herbivore. During the Cretaceous, flowering plants were “geographically limited on the landscape”, and so it is likely that this dinosaur fed on the predominant plants of the era: ferns, cycads and conifers. It would have used its sharp ceratopsian beak to bite off the leaves or needles.