Archaeoceratops (Greek for "ancient horned face"); pronounced AR-kay-oh-SEH-rah-tops
Woodlands of Asia
Early Cretaceous (125-115 million years ago)
Size and Weight:
About 2-3 feet long and 5-10 pounds
Small size; relatively large head with small frill
Over the past couple of decades, paleontologists have discovered a bewildering array of "basal" ceratopsians (horned, frilled dinosaurs) in central and eastern Asia, small, possibly bipedal herbivores that were directly ancestral to huge, lumbering beasts like Triceratops and Pentaceratops. Like its close relatives, Liaoceratops and Psittacosaurus, Archaeoceratops looked more like an ornithopod than a ceratopsian, especially considering its lithe build and stiff tail; the only giveaways were the primitive beak and frill on its slightly oversized head, the precursors of the sharp horns and giant awnings of its descendants tens of millions of years down the line.