Fun Marginocephalians Facts For Kids

Arpitha Rajendra
Jan 31, 2023 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Sep 27, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Read more amazing Marginocephalians facts here
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.5 Min

Marginocephalia is a clade or group of ornithischian dinosaurs characterized by a margin or a bony shelf at the back of the skull, and these fringes were probably for display. The marginocephalia groups of dinosaurs are members of the clade Cerapoda, which was first named in 1986 by Sereno.

There are two clades within Marginocephalia, horned Ceratopsia, and thick-skulled (dome-headed) Pachycephalosauria. These species are primarily herbivores and used gastroliths to digest tough plant matter until further evolution of tooth batteries for grinding plants.

The basal or primitive Marginocephalia is of Asia, however, they migrated up towards North America. These species first evolved in the Jurassic period (to Late Cretaceous) and were common in the Cretaceous period.

Maryanska and Osmolska first-named Pachycephalosauria as a suborder within order Ornithischia.

Ceratopsian clade has usually been described as a suborder under order Ornithischia. The basal or primitive Marginocephalia was facultative quadrupedal or bipedal, and derived species are constrained quadrupedal.

Pachycephalosaurus had basic teeth, obligate bipedalism, and a small-sized body. Ceratopsian has a rostral bone or parrot-like beak with a thin parietal-squamosal shelf extending back into a frill and jugal horn.

If you like these facts, then you read more fun facts about the Chungkingosaurus and the Ichthyovenator on Kidadl.

Marginocephalians Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Marginocephalians'?

The pronunciation of 'Marginocephalia' is 'Mar-ji-no-ce-fali-ya.'

What type of dinosaur was a Marginocephalians?

The evidence on Marginocephalia reveals that they were social creatures. Marginocephalia group of dinosaurs are classified as members of the order Ornithischia (bird-hipped).

The bony skull margins of this dinosaur might have had functions during ritualistic combat, display, to show dominance, ward off predators, defend territory, or establish social order.

There was evidence that Ceratopsians (horned dinosaurs) and Pachycephalosaurs (thick-skulled) had interspecific communication and there may have been intraspecific communication. It is thought that Pachycephalosaurs could have used thick skulls in their heads shaped like domes to butt into each other, an opinion among the general public.

In some Pachycephalosaurs, however, vascularization is present in the skull cap like in Stygimoloch, which would not support head-butting behavior.

In such cases, this thick skull would have just been an ornament or used for agonistic behavior or used for intraspecific communication by butting into the softer plank of other Pachycephalosaurs. The frills of Ceratopsian dinosaurs may have been used as protection.

Some also say that frills would have protected these creatures from large dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus and may be used for mating purposes.

Evidence states that Heterodontosauridae were even more closely related to Marginocephalia dinosaurs than the true ornithopods were. Although studying sexual dimorphism in dinosaurs is a difficult task, the intricacy of margins and varying size of Marginocephalia dinosaurs have indicated that the physical forms of the sexes differ.

In which geological period did the Marginocephalians roam the earth?

These species first evolved in the Jurassic Period and became common in the Cretaceous Period around 161-66 million years ago. Ceratopsians (horned dinosaurs) lived from the Late Jurassic to Late Cretaceous around 161-66 million years ago. Pachycephalosaurus (thick-skulled) occurred in the Late Cretaceous around 161-66 million years ago.

When did Marginocephalians become extinct?

This dinosaur group (Ceratopsians and Pachycephalosaurs) of the Late Cretaceous became extinct in the Cretaceous-Paleogene Period around 66 million years ago.

Where did Marginocephalians live?

This dinosaur group of the Late Cretaceous occupied Asia, Europe, and North America. Ceratopsians occupied all three habitats ranges while Pachycephalosaurus occupied Asia and North America. The primitive Marginocephalians occupied Asia, however, moved up north to North America.

What was the Marginocephalians' habitat?

This margin-headed dinosaur occupied habitat ranges with hot and arid climates, temperate mountains, and rocky mountains. So, they preferred dry conditions.

Who did Marginocephalians live with?

Both Ceratopsians (horn-head) and Pachycephalosaurs (thick-head) groups are social creatures and might have lived in groups.

How long did Marginocephalians live?

The lifespan or maximum age of Pachycephalosaurus (thick-head) and Ceratopsians (horn-headed ) is not known.

How did they reproduce?

The reproduction of these dome heads is oviparous. The breeding process and incubation period of these dinosaur species are not known.

Marginocephalians Fun Facts

What did Marginocephalians look like?

These dinosaur species of the late cretaceous are characterized by a margin or bony shelf on the back of their skull. They have peg-like teeth and their teeth are arranged in a way and strong enough to cut up plants.

Early Ceratopsians like Psittacosaurus (from Early Cretaceous) were small-sized bipedal dinosaurs and the group is also species-rich. Advanced members like Triceratops and Centrosaurus evolved to become large quadrupedal with facial frills and horns that extended over the neck.

This Ceratopsian dinosaur differs from Pachycephalosaurus in the presence of a parrot-like beak or rostral bone on the upper jaw. They also had a thin parietal-squamosal shelf extending back into a frill and jugal horn.

Their frill could have either been used for display, to show dominance or for anchoring jaw muscles. Also, the frills develop quite early in their life.

Pachycephalosaurs also called thick-headed reptiles to have basal forms including basic teeth, obligate bipedalism, and small-sized body. They also have short forelimbs, broad hips, long legs, short necks, and heavy tails.

With evolution, came their advanced thick skull roofs including domes with horn-like ornament. Few pieces of research imply that these domes were used for protection and intraspecific combat.

Few other research implies that their neck wasn't strong enough for such actions. As these dinosaurs are relatively flat-headed, it is still not clear about the meaning of the flat. Some recent research implies that this flat head could have been a juvenile's trait and became dome-shaped as they grew.

This could also point that the females were more flat-headed. The legs of these species might have been straight.

Marginocephalia's would allow them to graze efficiently on vegetation closer to the ground.

How many bones did a Marginocephalian have?

The total number of bones within this group is unknown.

How did they communicate?

Like all the related dinosaur species, these dinosaurs could have communicated in their time through calls and songs.

How big were Marginocephalians?

This dinosaur group is a relatively large group with the Ceratopsia measuring 3-30 ft (1-9 m) and Pachycephalosauria measuring 6.6-9.8 ft (2-3 m) in length. Pachycephalosauria dinosaurs were mostly half the size of Dilophosaurus.

How fast could a Marginocephalian move?

The legs of both dinosaurs (Pachycephalosaur and Ceratopsia)

How much did a Marginocephalian weigh?

The weight of Ceratopsia is 900 lb (400 kg) and Pachycephalosaurs is 50-20,100 lb (23-9,100 kg).

What were the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names assigned to the female and male dinosaurs of this group.

What would you call a baby Marginocephalians?

There is no specific name assigned to this baby dinosaur group.

What did they eat?

The diet of both Ceratopsians and Pachycephalosaur dinosaurs was herbivorous. They fed on Palms, cycads, and other prehistoric tough plant species. Research shows that these dinosaurs were not climbers and fed close to the ground.

How aggressive were they?

The extent of aggression of this dome-headed dinosaur is not known.

Did you know...

Chasmosaurines are long-frilled ceratopsids and Centrosaurines are called short-frilled ceratopsids.

Some of the subgroups (families, clades, and genera) within the Ceratopsia group are Neoceratopsia, Protoceratops, Triceratops, Ceratopsidae, MIcroceratus, and Yinlong.

All the ceratopsians of the Neoceratopsia clade are more derived compared to Psittacosaurids.

Cerotopsia's rostral bone or beak acts as a mirror image of their predentary bone on the lower jaw and was recognized and named by Othniel Charles Marsh.

Some of the subgroups (families, clades, and genera) are Gravitholus, Acrotholus, Tylocephale, and Stegoceras.

F. V. Hayden, an American geologist who led the U. S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories discovered the first of Ceratopsian remains in 1855.

Triceratops directly translates to 'three-horned face,' a derivation of Greek terms, tri means 'three,' Keras means 'horn,' and ops means 'face.' Among the 17 species named within genus Triceratops, only two of them are valid today, T. prorsus and T. hoeeidus.

William King Gregory and Walter W. Granger introduced the family Protoceratopsidae, under which the protoceratops are classified, in 1923.

Why are they called Marginocephalians?

These dinosaurs of the late cretaceous are named Marginocephalia due to the margin head or bony shelf behind the skull.

How many Marginocephalia dinosaurs are there?

There are over 40 dinosaurs within this group classified within clades, families, and genera.

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 Sauropelta facts and Orodromeus facts for kids.

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

Marginocephalians Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Palms, cycads, and other prehistoric tough plant species

what Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


What Did They Look Like?


How Much Did They Weigh?

Ceratopsia: 900 lb (400 kg) Pachycephalosaurs: 50-20,100 lb (23-9,100 kg)

Skin Type


How Long Were They?

Ceratopsia: 3-30 ft (1-9 m) Pachycephalosauria: 6.6-9.8 ft (2-3 m)

How Tall Were They?










Scientific Name


What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Hot and arid climates and rocky mountains

Where Did They Live?

Asia, Europe, and North America
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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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