Fun Serendipaceratops Facts For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
Oct 20, 2022 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Sep 29, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Check out these wonderful Serendipaceratops facts!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.4 Min

Serendipaceratops, meaning 'serendipitous horned face', is one of the most peculiar genera of dinosaurs because of the exciting story of its discovery and its mysterious phylogeny. In 1993, during the Dinosaur Cove project in Australia, a single ulna bone, that is, an arm bone, of a dinosaur was discovered by Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich at The Arch in the Wonthaggi Formation near Kilcunda, which is located along the southeast coast of Victoria, Australia. This bone was found to be from the Early Cretaceous period. Since there was only a single ulna found, it was quite difficult to assign to a specific group or genus of dinosaurs but was thought to belong to a group of theropod dinosaurs by Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich. However, when they visited the Royal Tyrell Museum of Paleontology in Canada, a paleontologist named Dale Rusell suggested that the ulna Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich had found in Australia could be of a ceratopsian dinosaur as it greatly resembled the ulna bone of Leptoceratops. After their trip to Canada in 2003, Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich described and named a new genus called Serendipaceratops, meaning 'serendipitous horned face', on the basis of the ulna they discovered in Australia. The name was given because of the serendipitous discovery of the dinosaur. The name of its type species, S. arthurcclarkei, was a reference to Arthur C. Clarke, who was their friend and famous science fiction writer.

This was an important observation as it would make this dinosaur one of the first ceratopsians to have been found in Australia, as well as push back the first appearance of ceratopsians on Earth by at least 30 million years. However, later analyses concluded that the ulna could belong to an ornithischian ankylosaur instead of a ceratopsian.

If you want to read about other cool dinosaurs, check out our Phuwiangosaurus facts and Animantarx facts pages.

Serendipaceratops Interesting Facts

How do you pronounce 'Serendipaceratops'?

The phonetic pronunciation of Serendipaceratops, meaning 'serendipitous horned face', is 'Seh-ren-dip-pah-sair-ah-tops'.

What type of dinosaur was a Serendipaceratops?

It is unclear what type of dinosaur this is as it was initially classified and named as a ceratopsian dinosaur by Tom Rich and Patricia Vickers-Rich after their visit to Canada where they found that the ulna bone they had discovered was similar to that of a Leptoceratops. In 2010, it was found that the bone could belong to any dinosaur in the clade or group Genasauria, which consists of all ornithischian dinosaurs including ankylosaurs, ceratopsian dinosaurs, and their ancestors. It was also observed to be very similar to the ulna of an Australian ankylosaur, Minmi. More recently in 2021, it has been said that this bone belongs to an ankylosaur, while the Riches still maintain that it belongs to a ceratopsian.

In which geological period did the Serendipaceratops roam the Earth?

The isolated arm bone found by the riches in Australia has been dated back to the Early Cretaceous, almost 122-112 million years ago. Almost all other dinosaurs from the same group have been found to be from the Late Cretaceous. If it is a ceratopsian, it would be the first ceratopsian found in Australia, as well as one of the first ceratopsians that ever existed on Earth. It would push back the origin of ceratopsians by almost 30 million years, and its place of origin would now shift to Australia from Asia or North America.

When did the Serendipaceratops become extinct?

Since these animals lived during the Early Cretaceous period, it is possible that they survived long enough to also during the Late Cretaceous, but would have met their end due to the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event that took place almost 66 million years ago, after the Late Cretaceous ended.

Where did a Serendipaceratops live?

Dinosaurs of this genus would have lived in what is now known as Australia. It is possible that these were the first ceratopsian dinosaurs in Australia. These are also the only other ceratopsian dinosaurs that would have lived in the southern region of the Gondwana landmass, the other one being Notoceratops from South America.

What was a Serendipaceratops' habitat?

Though it is not exactly known what kind of region these animals would have inhabited during the Early Cretaceous, they would have lived in a terrestrial environment, or somewhere with plenty of vegetation to accommodate their herbivorous diet.

Who did a Serendipaceratops live with?

Both ceratopsians and ankylosaurs are known to have been quite gregarious, and so it would be safe to assume that Serendipaceratops dinosaurs also lived in small groups of their own kind.

How long did a Serendipaceratops live?

The lifespan of this dinosaur is not known due to lack of fossil evidence, but the Triceratops, another ceratopsian, is estimated to have lived in the range of 25-30 years.

How did they reproduce?

These animals were oviparous and did not give birth to live young, but laid eggs from which their young ones emerged. 

Serendipaceratops Fun Facts

What did a Serendipaceratops look like?

There is not much information available about the appearance of this dinosaur as the only known bone of this animal is its ulna, which is also suspected to be deformed by some scientists. However, based on its classification, it is thought to have had a small frill on its neck as well as smaller horns than the ceratopsians that lived later during the Late Cretaceous. The ulna bone itself was found to be short and the shaft was somewhat flattened. The bone was unlike any ulna belonging to a known dinosaur but was considered similar to the ceratopsian Leptoceratops found in Canada, as well as the Australian ornithischian ankylosaur, Minmi. The small size of the bone suggested that the dinosaur itself would have also been rather small and short.

The ulna of the Serendipaceratops is short and flattened.
We've been unable to source an image of a Serendipaceratops and have used an image of a Leptoceratops instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Serendipaceratops, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

How many bones did a Serendipaceratops have?

The total number of bones in the body of a Serendipaceratops cannot be known as it is currently represented by only a single known bone, that is its ulna.

How did they communicate?

The means of communication that these animals used is currently unknown, but scientists have said that all dinosaurs would have used some form of vocalizations or body language to communicate.

How big was a Serendipaceratops?

The body length of a Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei is estimated to have been in the range of 6.5-7.5 ft (2-2.3 m). This is similar to the length of a Leptoceratops.

How fast could a Serendipaceratops move?

Though the exact speed of this dinosaur is not known, it is thought that ankylosaurs would not have been very fast animals.

How much did a Serendipaceratops weigh?

Due to the lack of more fossil evidence, the weight of a Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei has not been evaluated.

What were the male and female names of the species?

There were no special names for the male and female animals in this genus.

What would you call a baby Serendipaceratops?

A baby Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei could have been called a hatchling.

What did they eat?

Since this dinosaur was a herbivore, it would have fed on plant material that was available during the Early Cretaceous in Australia. Ankylosaurs are also known to have been restricted to feeding on low-lying vegetation due to their short height.

The theropod Australovenator is thought to have been a significant predator of this dinosaur since it also lived during the Early Cretaceous in the same geographical range.

How aggressive were they?

These animals would not have been very aggressive as they were slow-paced herbivores, and although their faces were horned, it was only to defend themselves against predators.

Did you know...

Arthur C. Clarke was a famous science fiction writer, and some of the bestselling books written by Arthur C. Clarke included '2001: A Space Odyssey' and 'Rendezvous with Rama'. The species name, S. arthurcclarkei, has been coincidentally named after the former name of his adoptive country, Sri Lanka, which was once called Serendip.

What dinosaurs lived in Sri Lanka?

So far, no fossil remains of dinosaurs have been found in Sri Lanka. This might be because the rock from the Mesozoic Era could have been eroded away and with it all the fossils. However, crocodilians are thought to have existed since the Early Triassic period and are still found in the wetlands of Sri Lanka.

What dinosaurs lived in Australia?

There are a large number of dinosaur fossils that have been recovered from Australia, such as theropods, sauropods, ankylosaurs, as well as ornithischian dinosaurs. Ceratopsians had never been found in Australia before the discovery of Serendipaceratops, and if it is confirmed to be a ceratopsian, Australia would become the place of origin for ceratopsians, instead of Asia or North America, like it was thought before.

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 Archaeoceratops facts and Geranosaurus facts for kids.

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

Main image by Nobu Tamura

Second image by by Hectonichus

We've been unable to source an image of a Serendipaceratops and have used an image of a Leptoceratops instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a Serendipaceratops, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com

Serendipaceratops Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Plant material

what Type of Animal were they?

Herbivore

Average Litter Size?

N/A

What Did They Look Like?

Possibly horned face

How Much Did They Weigh?

N/A

Skin Type

Scales

How Long Were They?

6.5-7.5 ft (2-2.3 m)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Dinosauria and Genasauria

Genus

Serendipaceratops

Family

N/A

Scientific Name

Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei

What Were Their Main Threats?

Natural disasters

What Habitat Did They Live In?

Terrestrial regions

Where Did They Live?

Australia
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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

Abhijeet Modi picture

Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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