Name: Aquilops americanus
Meaning: Aquilops means “eagle-faced”, for the dinosaur’s beak, and americanus refers to the fact the dinosaur was found in North America.
Age: Cretaceous, between 104 and 109 million years ago.
Where in the world?: The Cloverly Formation of Montana.
Size: About two feet long and weighing about as much as a large bunny rabbit.
How much of the dinosaur’s body is known?: A single, nearly-complete skull.
Claim to fame: Ceratopsian dinosaurs are incredibly rare in the Early Cretaceous rocks of North America. Aquilops is the earliest definitive horned dinosaur found on the continent, and, as concluded by paleontologist Andrew Farke and colleagues, its anatomy suggests that its ancestors had crossed over to the continent from Asia. This was the first of three times horned dinosaurs dispersed to North America from Asia during the Cretaceous.
Farke, A., Maxwell, W., Cifelli, R., Wedel, M. 2014. A ceratopsian dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Western North America, and the biogeography of Neoceratopsia. PLOS ONE. 9 (12): e112055. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0112055