Vagaceratops irvinensis, also called Chasmosaurus irvinensis, was one of the most remarkable horned dinosaurs that have left its imprints on the history of evolution. The extinct species was initially classified under the Chasmosaurus genus but later it was attributed a genus of its own. According to research, this dinosaur belonging from the Late Cretaceous period was a close relative of Kosmoceratops richardsoni. Renowned authors named Mark A. Loewen, Eric M. Roberts, Joshua A. Smith, Scott D. Sampson, Alan L. Titus, Andrew A. Farke, and Catherine A. Forster were the first to offer the genus its name. Fossilized specimens extracted from the Dinosaur Park Formation site in Alberta mainly consist of the skull. However, a lot of interest was aroused among the researchers concerning the forelimb of this ceratopsid. While it could be deciphered that the dinosaur possessed hindlimbs that were held in a straight line, the bone arrangements that form the forelimbs are amazingly different. Some were straight, while others were lizard-like or heavily sprawled in form.
If you intend to explore more about the Vagaceratops then don't stop reading. You can also learn some more intriguing facts about the eosinopteryx and kileskus.
If you want to ace the pronunciation of the genus name 'Vagaceratops', then simply break it down to 'Va-ga-seh-rah-tops'.
Vagaceratops was a chasmosaurine ceratopsid dinosaur that was herbivorous in nature. The species is noted for a single horn on top of its nose.
Specimens discovered from the excavation site revealed that Vagaceratops irvinensis resided on this earth approximately 70-83 million years ago in the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous epoch.
The accurate time frame within which the species was completely eradicated from the world is not known owing to the lack of research data. However, the species was completely eradicated millions of years before the existence of humans.
Fossil remains of Chasmosaurus irvinensis collected from the deposits of Dinosaur Park Formation reveal that million years ago these ceratopsids inhabited present-day Alberta, Canada. Fossils were also retrieved from Saskatchewan in Canada. It is believed that the population of this dinosaur species was spread over North America.
The species was accustomed to a terrestrial ecosystem. Habitat of the ceratopsid primarily included highlands.
Due to the death of information, the social behavior of this horned dinosaur couldn't be analyzed. Males and females might have paired up during the breeding season but it is almost impossible to ascertain whether these dinosaurs dwelled solitarily or moved in groups outside of the breeding period.
Since only partial fossilized remains of the species (the skull) could only be derived from the excavation site, paleontologists have not yet been able to put together every crucial detail about the species including its average lifespan. Hence, no conclusive statements regarding its life expectancy can be made with precision.
Reproduction among the species was oviparous, which means that these dinosaurs reproduced by laying eggs. However, particular details about the breeding habits of the species remain under wraps due to the lack of adequate research data. It can be inferred that Chasmosaurus irvinensis portrayed similar breeding habits like that of other dinosaurs where the females, after successful copulation, would lay eggs and engage in incubation for a period of three to six months. Upon hatching, the young were normally able to fend for themselves and didn't require parental care.
The build of the dinosaur resembled that of a ceratopsid where it possessed a nasal horn, neck frill, and the beak shaped like that of a parrot. However, the species came with some distinct dissimilarities. The most prominent feature of the species is that, just like the horned rhinoceros, it exhibited a small horn on the top of its nose as well as brow horns. The neck frill was large while the parietal fenestrae were smaller when compared with most other ceratopsids. Also, it possessed a larger snout and a short, square-shaped frill. The dinosaur had ten epoccipitals (the bones that border the frill) and among these eight were flattened at the center.
Only partial remains of the skeletal framework could be retrieved from the site. This is not enough to reconstruct the entire structure of the ceratopsid that history boasts of. These remains primarily included three skull bones.
Communication among the species was primarily via vocalizations. Most probably, these dinosaurs also used bodily displays for interacting with each other.
As per records, a Vagaceratops size was somewhere around 19.7 ft (6 m) in length. The dinosaur was relatively large when contrasted with the average size of its relative, Kosmoceratops from the Late Cretaceous epoch. Kosmoceratops measured around 15 ft (4.5 m) in length.
Are you aware that the latest research has brought to light that Chasmosaurus irvinensis moved with slightly bent elbows? However, the speed range of the ceratopsid remains a mystery.
Data about the average weight of Chasmosaurus irvinensis couldn't be gathered due to insufficient information. The unique structure and function of both the forelimbs and hindlimbs allowed better weight management and efficiency in movement.
None of the sexes have been attributed with special names. They're commonly referred to as male and female dinosaurs.
Dinosaur babies do not possess any specific names but they are normally referred to as young or hatchling.
Vagaceratops irvinensis indulged in a herbivorous diet primarily comprising plants and lush green grasses.
It is pretty hard to imagine these plant-eating dinosaurs exhibit any kind of violent behavior. The species could have been naïve or very gentle but no assertions can be made as there's a dearth of evidence.
Are you aware of the most notable features of this ceratopsid dinosaur? The species had a nasal horn, neck frill, brow horns, ten epoccipitals, and a short, square-shaped frill. This square-shaped frill is absent in Kosmoceratops. The function of the frill and horns needs scientific research.
In 2010, the name Vagaceratops was attributed to the species collectively by Mark A. Loewen, Eric M. Roberts, Joshua A. Smith, Scott D. Sampson, Alan L. Titus, Andrew A. Farke, and Catherine A. Forster. The term is an amalgamation of the Latin and Greek terms 'vagus' and 'ceratops' respectively. The word 'vagus' implies 'wanderer' or 'wandering' while 'ceratops' translates to 'horned face'.
The teeth of the dinosaur were slightly curved and pointy and the enamel could be found only on one side of its tooth crowns. The teeth structure was well-suited for a herbivorous diet where the dinosaur was able to munch on abundant green leaves. They were not sturdy enough to devour meat like the famous Tyrannosaurus rex. Also, there's not much information about the teeth or jaw of the ceratopsid so accurate details cannot be provided.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these pleurocoelus facts or mercuriceratops facts.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable singing dinosaurs coloring pages.
Second image by Sampson SD, Loewen MA, Farke AA, Roberts EM, Forster CA, et al.