The Utahceratops gettyi was a species of dinosaur similar to the more widely known Triceratops, which inhabited the Kaiparowits formation of southern Utah during the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period. It existed near the western interior seaway, which divided the continent of North America into two separate landmasses many million years ago. It is known for its frilled skull as well as the horn on its face, similar to its relatives of the Chasmosaurine subfamily- the Triceratops and the Kosmoceratops. This dinosaur was herbivorous in nature and mid-sized compared to other dinosaurs in its family. The name Utahceratops alludes to the state of Utah, where this dinosaur was discovered, as well as to the Ceratopsia family. The species name gettyi is in honor of Mike Getty (paleontology collections manager of the Natural History Museum of Utah), who discovered the species in Southern Utah.
To learn more about this roar-some reptile, read on! For more relatable content, check out these Monoclonius facts and Micropachycephalosaurus facts for kids.
Utahceratops is pronounced as 'U-tah-seh-rah-tops'
The Utahceratops gettyi was a kind of beak-faced/horned face dinosaur which belonged to the Ceratopsia family.
Not recently, the Utahceratops lived on Earth. They did so during the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period, around 76.4-75.5 million years ago.
The Utahceratops gettyi most likely became extinct around the end of the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period, which ended around 75.5 million years ago, according to reports.
The Utahceratops fossils, which consist of a number of partial skulls and postcranial skeleton material, were found in the state of Utah in the United States. This means that the Utahceratops most likely lived in what is now the continent of North America.
During the Late Cretaceous period, the site of the Kaiparowits Formation, where dinosaurs lived, was an ancient floodplain dominated by large channels and abundant wetland, swamps, ponds, and lakes, and was bordered by highlands. The climate was most likely wet and humid and supported a wide range of organisms. This formation contains the most diverse records of Late Cretaceous terrestrial life in the world, and a large number of fossils have been retrieved from here. The Kaiparowits Formation was deposited around 76.4-75.5 million years ago.
Utahceratops, like most other dinosaurs, mostly lived in packs. There are high chances of herbivorous dinosaurs living and feeding together in groups, and this theory has been developed due to the discovery of a number of fossilized trackways containing a sequence of dinosaur footprints, all suggesting the presence of dinosaurs traveling in groups.
Though the exact lifespan of a dinosaur cannot be determined, it has been estimated that they lived quite long lives, akin to those of similar reptiles like crocodiles and turtles. Due to their slow metabolisms and herbivorous diets, these Ceratopsian beasts have been estimated to live between 80-300 years.
Utahceratops horned dinosaurs were oviparous and reproduced by laying eggs. Their mating process was mostly similar to that of modern-day reptiles, with internal fertilization taking place inside the female's body.
The Utahceratops dinosaur is known for belonging to the family of Ceratopsia, meaning horned face dinosaurs. It had a frilled skull and a small horn on its face, along with a short, stocky body. Its head accounted for most of its length. It was quadrupedal and walked on four thick, stumpy legs and feet. It had a short, thick tail that tapered at the end. Its skull was very large compared to the rest of its skeleton, and the ornamental frill was quite light in weight. Unlike the Triceratops, the most widely known Ceratopsian dinosaur, it had two holes in the bone of the frill on its skull to make it lighter in weight.
Though the exact number of bones this dinosaur had has not been determined, a number of partial skulls, as well as postcranial skeleton material, have been found as fossils in Utah. We do know that the number of bones possessed by the average dinosaur has been worked out to be around 200; hence these ceratopsian horned dinosaurs most probably had around 200 bones.
Dinosaurs are known for their loud, earth-shaking roars, which are mostly how this dinosaur communicated. They mostly used bellowing roars, grunts of low rumbling noises to communicate in order to mate or chase away other dinosaurs from their territories. Visual displays were also probably used, with raising of the front feet, stomping, and tail whipping involved.
The Utahceratops size has been estimated to have been around 18-22 ft (5.5-6.7 m) in length and 6.6 ft (2 m) in height. Its head alone was 7 ft (2.1 m) in length, so it accounted for most of the length!
Though the exact speed of the Utahceratops genus is unknown, we do know that the Triceratops, another dinosaur belonging to the ceratopsian family, moved at an average of 20 mph (32.2 kph); hence the Utahceratops most likely moved at a similar speed. They were quadrupedal, meaning they walked and ran on all four feet.
The Utahceratops gettyi species has been estimated to weigh around 6613.9-8818.5 lb (3000-4000 kg), meaning it was quite heavy.
A male dinosaur has been termed a saurus whereas the female dinosaur is called as saura. We do not make any distinction in sex while referring to horned dinosaurs, though.
Baby Utahceratops dinosaurs were known as hatchlings, as they hatched from eggs.
Since Utahceratops horned dinosaurs were herbivorous in nature, they most likely sustained themselves on a diet of leaves, twigs, roots, and rudimentary fruits, vegetables, and seeds.
Though herbivorous dinosaurs did not prey on smaller creatures, they still had to be quite aggressive in order to protect themselves from the larger predatory horned dinosaurs such as various theropods and velociraptors. They had a number of defensive mechanisms such as tough, scaly armor, bludgeon, and mace-like tails and sharp horns and spikes on their body in order to attack any incoming predators head-on. Ceratopsian horned dinosaurs had horns on their skull which also acted as a means of defense in the face of predators.
The Kaiparowits formation, where the Utahceratops lived, existed many million years ago. It was located near the western shore of the Western Interior Seaway, which was an ancient inland sea that divided North America into two separate land areas. Over the years, this sea has appeared to dry up, and the two separate landmasses (Laramidia and Appalachia) were united into one single continent.
Though it had a large ornamental frill on its skull, this was revealed to be made of very lightweight bone. It also had substantially smaller horns on its head than other Ceratopsian individuals.
Though early members of the Ceratopsia group were bipedal in nature, they evolved to walk on all four legs, as seen in the Triceratops and Utahceratops dinosaurs.
The skeleton of this dinosaur was reconstructed from around six specimens, in which 90% of the skull and 70% of the postcranial skeleton were able to be studied.
Diabloceratops was a dinosaur named by James Ian Kirkland and Donald DeBlieux.
The Kosmoceratops was a similar type of dinosaur, which was discovered around the same time as the Utahceratops, and in the same formation. However, the frill and ornamental display of the Kosmoceratops was much more elaborate in nature, which is how these two species were distinguishable from each other. It belongs to the same subfamily, Chasmosaurine, like the Triceratops.
The Utahceratops was named after the state of Utah, where it was discovered, as well as after the Greek words 'kera' and 'ops' which mean horn and face - referring to the beak-like horn on the face possessed by all ceratopsian horned dinosaurs. The species name, gettyi is in honor of Mike Getty, the paleontology collections manager of the Natural History Museum of Utah, who discovered the initial specimen from the Kaiparowits Formation in Southern Utah. It was named in 2010 by Scott D. Sampson, Mark A. Loewen, Andrew A. Farke, Eric M. Roberts, Catherine A. Forster, Joshua A. Smith, and Alan L. Titus.
The species name, Utahceratops gettyi, is in honor of Mike Getty, the paleontology collections manager of the Natural History Museum of Utah, who made the discovery of the initial specimen from the Kaiparowits Formation in Southern Utah. Not recently, one of the persons to name Utahceratops was Joshua A. Smith.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Pedopenna facts or Claosaurus facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Utahceratops coloring pages.
Main image by Jens Lallensack.
Second image by Nobu Tamura.