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1 September 2011 Variation in the Skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta
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Abstract

Anchiceratops is a chasmosaurine ceratopsid from the Upper Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation (HCF) of Alberta. It is distinguished primarily by its unique parietosquamosal frill ornamentation and possibly by the presence of a ventrally flexed olfactory bulb of the brain. Although Anchiceratops is known from at least ten partial skulls, only two of these have been formally described. These skulls are not stratigraphically segregated, but they differ markedly in their proportions (e.g., supraorbital horncore and frill dimensions), causing previous authors to account for this disparity with reference to either interspecific or sexual differences. Both of these hypotheses assume that variation in Anchiceratops is dimorphic; however, this assumption has never been tested with reference to all available material. The present study describes all material from the HCF that can be positively attributed to Anchiceratops, and tests the assumption of dimorphism by subjecting this material to a series of morphometric analyses. We find no compelling evidence for dimorphism in Anchiceratops, although sample size is still too small for convincing statistical support. We conclude that there is a single, variable species of Anchiceratops, A. ornatus. Average sedimentation rates for the HCF suggest that A. ornatus is a particularly long-lived species compared with other ceratopsids (∼1.5–2.0 Ma), and the paleoecological implications of this are discussed. A cladistic analysis that includes the new data presented here indicates that Anchiceratops is more closely related to Chasmosaurus than to Triceratops, in contrast with previous studies.

© 2011 by the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
Jordan C. Mallon, Robert Holmes, David A. Eberth, Michael J. Ryan, and Jason S. Anderson "Variation in the Skull of Anchiceratops (Dinosauria, Ceratopsidae) from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation (Upper Cretaceous) of Alberta," Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 31(5), 1047-1071, (1 September 2011). https://doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2011.601484
Received: 9 February 2011; Accepted: 17 June 2011; Published: 1 September 2011
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