Fun Machairoceratops Facts For Kids

Mellisa Nair
Nov 30, 2022 By Mellisa Nair
Originally Published on Sep 27, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Discover interesting Machairoceratops facts including details about its history, fossil record, analysis of the material used in research, and its skull.

Curious about the fascinating creatures that lived during the pre-historic times? Do you want to learn more about them?

You've come to the right place! Read on to learn interesting facts about a very special dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous. This article will not only tell you about its appearance and history, but also details about its habitat, range, when and where it was discovered, its size, weight, length, and similar species!

Machairoceratops is an extinct genus of the Centrosaurine Ceratopsian dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous. It lived in the Upper Cretaceous of North America during the late Campanian stage.

Its name roughly translates to 'bent sword horned face'.

Its remains were recovered from the Wahweap Formation, in Southern Utah. Paleontologists knew right away that they were dealing with a new species of dinosaurs by observing its horn cores and epiparietals.

In 2016 Eric K. Lund, Zubair A. Jinnah, Mark A. Loewen, and Patrick M O'Connor classified it as an independent genus.

It currently is a member of the Ceratopsidae family. Machairoceratops was grouped within Centrosaurinae by performing several Bayesian phylogenetic and maximum parsimony analyses.

The maximum parsimony analysis revealed a polytomy at the base of Centrosaurinae.

The results of Bayesian topology revealed better information and made it possible to classify Machairoceratops as the sister taxon to a clade formed by Diabloceratops and Albertaceratops. A short while later a new species was found near the Kaiparowits Formation, and it was assigned to this genus- Machairoceratops cronusi.

The new species stands out because of its two peculiar forward-curving spikes on the far end of its frills and is closely related to other horned dinosaurs from Southern Laramidia.

Its name is derived from the Greek language and it means 'bent sword', its name is a reference to its unique frill ornamentation, and to the Greek titan Cronos who disposed of his father Uranus with a curved weapon similar to a sickle or scythe.

The fossils of this species helped fill an evolutionary gap between the other horned dinosaur species from Southern Laramidia.

Learn about some other pre-historic creatures from our Phuwiangosaurus facts and Achillesaurus facts pages.


Machairoceratops Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Machairoceratops'?

The word Machairoceratops is pronounced as 'mak-air-o-seh-rah-tops'. Its name is a reference made to Greek mythology, and the Greek titan Cronos, or Kronos. The word 'ceratops' means the horned face and 'machairis' means bent sword.

What type of dinosaur was a Machairoceratops?

The classification of this dinosaur is as follows - kingdom: Animalia; phylum: Chordata; clade: Dinosauria; order: Ornithischia; suborder: Ceratopsia; family: Ceratopsidae; subfamily: ‬Centrosaurinae. Later, a new Centrosaurine ceratopsid - ‬Machairoceratops cronusi was assigned under this genus as its type species.

In which geological period did the Machairoceratops roam the earth?

This horned dinosaur lived during the Campanian stage of the Late Cretaceous about 77 to 81 million years ago.

When did the Machairoceratops become extinct?

They went extinct during the K-T mass extinction nearly 65 million years ago.

Where did a Machairoceratops live?

Machairoceratops (bent sword) fossils i.e. a partial skeleton, its skull, and horns were found from the Upper Sand Member of the Wahweap Formation (Middle Campanian), of Southern Utah.

Paleontologists refer to this area as 'Laramidia' and its discovery helped researchers finally clear and fill a four million year gap between them and the Diabloceratops eatoni fossil record. Indicating that Machairoceratops the genus of Centrosaurine (Ceratopsian dinosaur) lived in North America.

What was a Machairoceratops' habitat?

This dinosaur lived near regions that provided it with plenty of food and water i.e. forests, riversides, floodplains, and swamps.

Who did a Machairoceratops live with?

The social life and behavior of this dinosaur are unknown.

How long did a Machairoceratops live?

Many theories suggest that these dinosaurs lived up to 70 or 80 years, similar to present-day elephants.

How did they reproduce?

They reproduced via sexual reproduction. Males would deposit their sperm inside females, who would later lay fertilized eggs containing developing dinosaur embryos.

They built nests by digging burrows in the soil and laid giant eggs which had a hard layered shell. All the eggs were usually amniotic, meaning the fetus was covered by a membrane which helped in its protection as well as supplying oxygen and other nutrients to the fetus.

Machairoceratops Fun Facts

What did a Machairoceratops look like?

It is a member of the Dinosauria clade is considered the largest Ceratopsian dinosaur, with a skull fitting its title.

Machairoceratops had two massive horns projecting from the brow area of its skull, and two other horns that curved forwards were observed on top of its frill, and these two horns are what inspired paleontologists to name it Machairoceratops, which translates to ‘‬bent sword horned dinosaur‭'‬.

Facts about Machairoceratops also known as the horned dinosaur that lived 77-81 million years ago.

How many bones did a Machairoceratops have?

Since only a partial skeleton and fragmentary remains of its skull and horns were recovered, the total number of bones present in this dinosaur is unknown.

Its dorsal surface is preserved with extra care as it was slightly damaged and fracted, it also had a weak ridge, and a free blade, which is the typical morphology observed among all ceratopsid dinosaurs e.g.

Centrosaurine Nasutoceratops.

How did they communicate?

Communication among Machairoceratops cronusi is still a mystery but many scientists over the past decades have come up with several theories that suggest possible ways these animals communicated, some put forth the theory of vocalizations and that these ferocious beasts engaged in dialogue by producing calls. Body language also played an important role in interspecific and intraspecific communication.

How big was a Machairoceratops?

This horned dinosaur grew up to 20-26 ft (6–8 m) in length!

How fast could a Machairoceratops move?

The exact speed rate of this dinosaur is unknown.

How much did a Machairoceratops weigh?

An adult Machairoceratops dinosaur weighed around 2,000-4,000 lb (907.1-1814.3 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

A female dinosaur is called saura, whereas the male is called saurus.

What would you call a baby Machairoceratops?

A young dinosaur can be referred to as hatchlings.

What did they eat?

Since they were herbivores their diet mainly consisted of plants and fruits.

How aggressive were they?

Scientists speculate that Machairoceratops cronusi were not aggressive in general but were good at defending themselves from other predatory carnivorous dinosaurs.

Did you know...

Machairoceratops cronusi (bent sword) is known for the holotype UMNH VP 20550 which is currently displayed at the Natural History Museum of Utah. The dinosaur is represented by a partial skull, two curved eye sockets, the left squamosal and jugal bone, a parietal bone complex, its horn ornamentation, and a deformed but almost complete braincase.

It is not known if they had sharp teeth.

The Wahweap Formation in Southern Utah is one of the world's most diverse middle-late Campanian terrestrial regions and is home to several species of bony fish, rays, sharks, mammals, turtles, lizards, and dinosaurs.

Dinosaur fossils of Diabloceratops eatoni (a Centrosaurine dinosaur) nearly 80 million years ago, was also found in Utah! Its fossil material was compared to Machairoceratops, to understand the relationship between Centrosaurine Diabloceratops, and Centrosaurine Nasutoceratops.

What climate did the Machairoceratops live in?

Given the area that ‬Machairoceratops cronusi lived in i.e. the Upper Cretaceous of North America around 77 to 81 million years ago, it lived in warm and dry climatic conditions.

When was the Machairoceratops cronusi found?

‬This horned dinosaur was discovered in 2006 by a team of professional excavators, scientists, and researchers from Ohio University and the Natural History Museum of Utah conducting geological surveys in Southern Utah. It is not yet confirmed if they were endemic to a certain location.

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 Concavenator facts, or Pegomastax fun facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Machairoceratops coloring pages.


Main image by Nobu Tamura.

Second image by AndreXs5.

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Written by Mellisa Nair

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Mellisa Nair picture

Mellisa NairBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics and English Literature

Specializing in the creation of SEO-friendly content, Mellisa brings enthusiasm and expertise to our team. Her work in digital marketing and social media is complemented by her academic background in economics and English literature, as she holds a Bachelor's degree in these subjects from Wilson College Chowpatty, Mumbai. Mellisa's experience working with clients from various industries, including retail, education, and technology, reflects her ability to adapt her skills to different contexts and audiences.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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