Quirks & Quarks

Oldest Horned Dinosaur in North America

A tiny ancestor of mighty Triceratops has been discovered in Montana.
Aquilops had a beak and small curved horns. ( Illustration by Brian Engh)
The most famous horned dinosaur is the giant Triceratops, which first appeared in North America 68 million years ago. But a new study by Dr. Andrew Farke, a Curator at the Raymond M. Alf Museum in Claremont, California, has identified the oldest horned dinosaur in North America. It is called Aquilops and it was found in Montana, where the rabbit-sized dinosaur lived about 110 million years ago. Apart from its age, Aquilops is significant because it is more closely related to horned dinosaurs from Asia, than others in North America, like Triceratops. This supports the theory of an intercontinental migration from Asia to North America that began 113 to 105 million years ago. 

Related Links

- Paper in PLOS One
- Raymond M. Alf Museum release
- National Geographic story
- LiveScience story
- The Guardian story