Kosmoceratops: Triceratops 15-Horned Cousin

July 27, 2011

CeretopsPic1 (3) 
Photographer: Kurt Allen Fisher
Summary Author: Kurt Allen Fisher

This photo shows a Utah Museum of Natural History conservator's slow extraction of the 15-horned Kosmoceratops richardsoni from 76 million year old rock and a modern field plaster cast. Paleoartist Lukas Panzarin's drawing in the top frame illustrates the reconstruction of Kosmoceratops, which shows similarities between the shape of "Kosmo's" skull and the shape of the more famous Triceratops, that lived about 8 million years later. This second discovered example of Kosmoceratops grazed along an inland seaway near present day Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, in southern Utah. This specimen was about 15 ft (4.5 m) long - slightly larger than the modern Black Rhinoceros. Paleontologist's disagree whether Triceratops' many possible predecessors, who all lived along a Late Cretaceous inland sea that stretched from present day Texas through Utah and into Alberta Canada, evolved separately and were cut-off from each other by land barriers. The discoverers of this example of Kosmoceratops believe that the unique features of this Utah dinosaur are so different from his 76 million year old contemporaries to the north and the south that it must have evolved in a region physically cut off from other closely related species. Photo taken on November 14, 2010.