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Ever heard about a dinosaur that had a beak just like parrots? If not, keep on reading. An extinct genus of a tiny ceratopsian dinosaur, Montanoceratops had a beautiful beak, a small nose horn, deep nasal bone, and a small frill or bony plate on its head. Unlike females, males must have had larger frills which may have been used during courtship displays. The dinosaur belonged to the Late Cretaceous period which spanned from 100.5-66 million years ago (mya).
The genus name, Montanoceratops, was derived from two Greek words, 'keras' and 'ops' which mean 'horn' and 'face', respectively. While Montanoceratops cerorhynchos is considered the only valid species of the Montana horned face dinosaur. The dinosaur possessed cheek teeth which also indicated it must have been an herbivore. Irrespective of its small size, it had a bulky body. The average weight and length of these quadrupedal dinosaurs are said to be around 900 lb (408 kg) and 6-10 ft (1.8-3 m), respectively. Unlike primitive ceratopsians, these dinosaurs had claws rather than hooves.
The first fossils of the Montanoceratops were found in the St. Mary River Formation, Montana by paleontologists such as Burnum Brown and Peter C. Kaisen and it was said that fossils belonged to the Early Maastrichtian stage, around 70 million years ago. Another specimen was collected by Barnum Brown from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in Alberta. The habitats of these dinosaurs were surrounded by mountains, streams, freshwater ponds, and floodplains. Also, the valley where they inhabited had estuary channels, swamps, wetlands, river deltas, and shorelines.
The pronunciation of the dinosaur's name seems to be a bit difficult but we are here to make it a little easier for kids. We are going to tell you a simple trick that can be applied to the pronunciation of all the names, be it dinosaurs, animals, places, and many other things. You just have to break the whole term into several syllables like 'mon-ta-no-ce-ra-tops' to make it less complicated.
The Montana horned-face dinosaur belonged to the class of reptiles, the suborder of Ceratopsia, and the Montanoceratops genus. It was a member of the Leptoceratopsidae family. Montanoceratops cerorhynchos is the only valid species of the dinosaur. Their diet mainly included plants and leaves.
The Montanoceratops dinosaurs belonged to the Late Cretaceous period which spanned from 100.5-66 million years ago (mya). During this period, they must have lived in different parts of the North American continent.
As per studies, the Montana horned-face dinosaurs became Extinct in the Early Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous period, around 70 million years ago. There is great uncertainty in regard to extinction, but the dinosaur must have become extinct due to a rapid decrease in the temperature. In general, dinosaurs disappeared due to several reasons such as climate change, drought, volcanic eruption, competition, and many more.
The first fossil was unearthed from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in Alberta, while the second fossil was found in the St. Mary River Formation, Montana by paleontologists such as Burnum Brown and Peter C. Kaisen. It can be said that the dinosaur must have lived in countries like Canada, and the United States.
The habitats of these dinosaurs were surrounded by mountains, streams, freshwater ponds, and floodplains. Also, the valley where they inhabited had estuary channels, swamps, wetlands, river deltas, and shorelines. The area they inhabited used to be quite wet and warm, while the climate was either temperate or subtropical.
Like other ceratopsians, the Montana horned-face dinosaurs may have been gregarious and lived in herds or groups. Adults would have lived with young dinosaurs for a certain period of time. Also, they must have formed pairs during the breeding season. They were nocturnal and cathemeral, remained active throughout the day at short intervals.
The exact life span of the Montana horned-face dinosaurs is not known as of now, but since these creatures were not that big, the life span would have also been quite less, unlike other huge-sized dinosaurs.
The Montanoceratops must have reproduced like other species of the Leptoceratopsidae family. Like modern-day reptiles and birds, dinosaurs also used to reproduce by laying eggs. They also performed several courtship displays to attract potential partners and males must have fought over females. Males must have used their frills to allure female dinosaurs.
Since they generally inhabited offshore, the nesting site must have been in the vicinity of a lake or pond. The nesting grounds were highly influenced by behavior, diet, soil condition, and rivalry between dinosaur species. Studies also reveal that they used to nest in groups, while each nest consisted of around 12 eggs which must have been laid in a spiral style.
Also, they must have been quite protective of their babies and they used to make herds that consisted of juveniles and adults. They must have cared for their young babies until they reached adulthood.
The Montana horned-face dinosaur was one of the unique and fascinating dinosaurs of the Late Cretaceous period. The dinosaur was known for its bulky body and parrot-like beak. It also possessed a small nose horn, cheek teeth, and a small frill or bony plate on its head. Unlike females, males must have had larger frills which may have been used during courtship displays. Brown and Schlaikjer state that the dinosaur had a large and deep nasal bone, while the jawbone was quite long.
The exact number of bones is not known as of now. Fossils found by Barnum Brown included several parts of the body such as a fragmentary skull and mandible (the largest bone in the skull), a complete series of 11 neck bones, around eight sacral and 12 dorsal vertebrae, left shinbone and thighbone, several parts of ribs. The specimen is kept in the American Museum of Natural History, New York, the United States of America.
The Montana horned-face dinosaur communicated in the same way as other dinosaurs. Dinosaurs, in general, used visual, auditory, and tactile cues to communicate with each other. Like modern-day animals, they used to perform several courtship displays to attract potential partners. Also, they were cathemeral which means they remain active throughout the day at short intervals. Dinosaurs were quite protective of their habitat and range and even fought with intruders.
By looking at the Montanoceratops skeleton, the average weight and length of these quadrupedal dinosaurs are said to be around 900 lb (408 kg) and 6-10 ft (1.8-3 m), respectively. Regardless of its small size, the creature was quite strong. Dinosaurs such as Aetonyx and Secernosaurus must have been quite a lot bigger than these creatures.
The exact speed of these dinosaurs is not known as of now, but ceratopsians, in general, had an average speed of around 35 mph (56 kph).
The average weight of the dinosaur was around 900 lb (408 kg).
There are no specific names given to male and female dinosaurs; people generally call them Montanoceratops.
The babies of these dinosaurs are known as hatchlings.
The species was an herbivore and primarily fed on plants and leaves. The creature had no sharp teeth and didn't use to bite each other.
The dinosaur was quite gregarious and often lived in pairs. Dinosaurs, in general, were not aggressive and didn't get violent for no reason. However, while dealing with intruders, they must have turn territorial and aggressive.
Troodon is regarded as the most intelligent dinosaur.
The genus name, Montanoceratops was derived from two Greek words, 'keras' and 'ops' which means 'horn' and 'face', respectively. The dinosaur was commonly known as the Montana horned-face dinosaur.
The first fossils of the Montanoceratops were found in the St. Mary River Formation, Montana by paleontologists such as Burnum Brown and Peter C. Kaisen and it was said that fossils belonged to the Early Maastrichtian stage, around 70 million years ago. Another specimen was collected by Barnum Brown from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in Alberta.
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 Stenopelix facts, or Prenoceratops facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Montanoceratops coloring pages.
Main image by Nobu Tamura.
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