The dinosaur with a crown of horns


Name: Anchiceratops

Diet: Herbivore

Weight: 2 tons

Period: Cretaceous

Found In: Canada

The genus Anchiceratops encompassed a group of Ceratopsian ornithischian dinosaurs that lived on planet earth during the Upper Cretaceous Period, approximately 70 million years ago.

Like many ceratopsians, they had 3 horns in their skulls and a large gola, also known as a flounce, in which there were also some small horns.

This gola was not massive but had two large central pits filled with skin, something that was thought to be useful for courtship and to attract the attention of another individual, which led us to think that the colors of this structure were very striking.

If you are interested in this dinosaur, below you will find detailed and complete information about Anchiceratops. Read on and discover the history and characteristics of this Cretaceous herbivorous dinosaur!

Anchiceratops taxonomy

  • The Kingdom of this dinosaur is that of Animalia.
  • The Ridge to which this dinosaur belongs is that of Chordata.
  • The Class to which Anchiceratops belongs is Sauropsida.
  • The Superorder of the Anchiceratops is Dinosauria.
  • The Order to which Ornithischia belongs.
  • The Suborder of Anchiceratops is Neornithischia.
  • This dinosaur’s infraorder is Ceratopsia.
  • The family to which it belongs is Ceratopsidae.
  • The Anchiceratops subfamily is Ceratopsinae.
  • The genus of this dinosaur is Anchiceratops.
  • And finally, the species is: A. ornatus.

This dinosaur is called Anchiceratops because a researcher named Barnum Brown decided to name it Barnum Brown in 1914 in the United States of America.
The decision was based on the belief that the Anchiceratops was a transitional dinosaur, that is, it was in an intermediate position between the mysterious Monoclonius and the dreaded Triceratops.

On the other hand, we have the species of the same name, Anchiceratops longirostris, which was named in this way by a great paleontologist named Carlos M. Sternberg, precisely in 1929, however, after a few years and various studies, we came to the practical conclusion that in reality, this species is nothing more and nothing less than a synonym of A. ornatus.

The life of Anchiceratops on planet earth

The Anchiceratops developed its existence in the famous Maastricht, located in what we now know as North America, as well as remember that its name has a descriptive meaning “close face with a horn”.

It is known, according to updated studies, that this dinosaur lived during the late Cretaceous, which is why we can assume that it is about 70 million years old, approximately, all these data are available thanks to studies and analysis that were made according to the latest discoveries.


Let’s bear in mind that the Cretaceous was the last period of the enormous Mesozoic era, likewise, the same Cretaceous period is also divided in an orderly manner into two parts, so we have the Upper Cretaceous and we also have the Lower Cretaceous.

It has also been calculated that this period in total is one of the longest, if not the longest, periods in history, which is why a large number of animals may belong to this period, without taking too much into account whether they lived in the lower or upper stage.

Who discovered the Anchiceratops?

At first, the first traces we have of this beautiful specimen were found in a river called Red Deer, in 1912, under the orders of the genius Barnum Brown, on a medium expedition.

More precisely, this river is located in a small province in the country of Canada called Alberta,

On the one hand we have the holotype, which consists of the back of the skull, and on the other hand, we also have the steering wheel and some other remains that belong to another skull.

These vestiges are currently under great care in a storage facility located within the American Museum of Natural History (which can be found in New York City, USA).

On the other hand, we also keep in mind the efforts made by C.M. Sternberg, a scientist who in 1924 managed to find a completely intact skull, which he named A. longirostris after five consecutive years of study and research.


This same paleontologist performed another similar feat, as he was able to discover another individual without a skull but with a fairly preserved skeleton, the best preserved of his group, even though he noticed that the last vertebra of the spine was not inside the remains.

This material found by the great Sternberg is now available in a museum located in the country of Canada, specifically in the city of Ottawa.

However, these were not the last remains found, in fact, other bones were found in a place called Alberta, but what happens is that it has not been possible to confirm for certain that these remains belong to the Anchiceratops.

An undeniable fact of which we are aware is that the vast majority of the remains that have been found and have been related to the dinosaur we are talking about today were found in the vicinity or inside the Horseshoe geological formation.

Another particular situation arose and is that several parts of the Anchiceratops flyer were found in a similar formation, named Almond of Wyoming, which is located in the USA.

In the same way, other pieces of Anchiceratops flywheel have been found in other older formations that attract attention and make us affirm that there is a great probability that this dinosaur has populated the whole North America for many years.

About Barnum Brown

About his life, we know that he was born in a place called Carbondale, located in great Kansas, precisely in the year 1873, until he took his last breath on the 5th of February 1963.

This man was responsible for the discovery of the first remains of the great and famous dinosaur known as Tyrannosaurus rex.

From other bibliographical writings, we also know that this personage began to be interested in the world of paleontology and fossils from the age of 21 onwards when he began to work as a collaborator with another paleontologist (at that time of greater experience) called Samuel Wendell Williston.

But the great discovery he was going to make, and we have already mentioned it, was going to come in 1895, the year in which he found an almost intact skull of a Triceratops.

This skull, after a couple of years, would be selected as worthy of being part of one of the most important history museums in the world, the famous Natural History Museum, located in the splendid city of New York.

As for the discovery of Tyrannosaurus rex, it was made to wait a few more years, because it is estimated that approximately between 1902 and 1910 it found a large deposit rich in traces of the Cretaceous Period, in Montana.

In addition to Tyrannosaurus rex, he was fortunate enough to locate the remains of an Ankylosaurus, individuals who were later to be described by other paleontologists and researchers of the time who were totally fascinated by the material.

In addition, Barnum Brown was responsible for describing and classifying several new dinosaurs, which we will discuss in much greater depth and accuracy at a later date.

Finally, he also participated in World War I, an experience that would help him to advance his career as an explorer.

Anchiceratops characteristics

This dinosaur was about 6 meters long and had a height of almost 3 meters, although being more precise it probably measured up to a little over 2.5 meters. As for its weight, we know that it did not exceed 2 tons.

In addition, there was a trio of horns in the facial area, as well as certain bone protuberances that were located preferably in the lateral area of the jawbone, not to mention the obvious large row of thorns in its strange gland.

In case some may not remember, the gola is simply a similar bone portion that looks very much like a flounce but is located in the back of the head, especially in some dinosaurs, it is assumed that this structure had functions related to behavior and communication.


His beak was very striking, similar to that of the birds, which in fact represented one of his main tools when it came to obtaining food, since with that beak he was in charge of making transversal cuts to the vegetables that he had decided to eat or to the vegetables that were within his reach, in times of scarce food.

It is said that this beak had a great power and strength, and for that reason, it was able to cut thick stems very easily, as well as other plants no matter how hard they were, did not manage to survive before the appetite of this curious animal.

After that, this dinosaur was preparing to chew and crush the food that it had managed to start in the first phase of its feeding process.

As for the horns that the Anchiceratops had, one of them was embedded in the muzzle, giving a fearful and threatening appearance, while the other two horns were just above the eyes.

As for the famous gola of this dinosaur, we will notice that it has a regular rectangle shape and that precisely in the area where the edges are located, this curious gola has some protuberances that have the shape of a triangle, to which they have placed the denomination of “epoccipitals”.

Finally, one of all the characteristics that clearly differentiated this magnificent dinosaur from other individuals was the famous fenestra, those openings that are located in the skull, which were much smaller in size in the Anchiceratops than in other ceratopsids.

As a quick example of ceratopside, we can mention the Pentaceratops.

At first, the great paleontologist Sternberg had a big mistake in the taxonomy of this dinosaur, because due to the size of the skull he himself proposed to place this individual within a new species called A. longirostris, the size of the beak also encouraged him to keep his decision firm.

But later many scientists managed to rule out such an error by claiming that the proportions of the individual’s skull and beak were most normal in the target species.

The Anchiceratops and its sexual dimorphism

Related to the information provided in the previous paragraph, the actual description of the size of the skull of the individual studied should include the fact that it actually belonged to an Anchiceratops female.

On the other hand, other skulls found, larger in size and with more robust muzzles, would belong to several Anchiceratops males, in which the horns are also larger and even much more vertically located.

There are still many studies and researchers underway on sexual dimorphism in various dinosaurs. One of the dinosaurs that presents the greatest sexual dimorphism is the Triceratops, another of them is the Torosaurus.

In this way, if we continue investigating we can find some more examples, cases in which we can clearly see the differences between females and males of the same gender.

The Anchiceratops compared to other dinosaurs

If we compare our dinosaur under study today, with other dinosaurs like the ceratopsians that belonged to the same area, we would conclude that the Anchiceratops lived in places where other dinosaurs could not have lived peacefully. In fact, it is difficult and almost impossible to think that these two had to share the same territory.

That is why scientists believe that the Anchiceratops must have had their “home” in various estuaries, with a lot of privacy, places where the type of plant food was basically flowering plants, and at a time when conifers did not yet emerge in nature.