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Zhuchengceratops inexpectus

 Xu X, Wang K, Zhao X, Sullivan C, Chen S (2010) A New Leptoceratopsid 
(Ornithischia: Ceratopsia) from the Upper Cretaceous of Shandong, China and Its 
Implications for Neoceratopsian Evolution. PLoS ONE 5(11): e13835. doi:10.1371

Background: The ceratopsians represent one of the last dinosaurian radiations. 
Traditionally the only universally accepted
speciose clade within the group was the Ceratopsidae. However, recent 
discoveries and phylogenetic analyses have led to
the recognition of a new speciose clade, the Leptoceratopsidae, which is 
predominantly known from the Upper Cretaceous
of North America.
Methodology/Principal Findings: Here we report a new leptoceratopsid taxon, 
Zhuchengceratops inexpectus gen. et sp.
nov., based on a partial, articulated skeleton recovered from the Upper 
Cretaceous Wangshi Group of Zhucheng, Shandong
Province, China. Although Zhuchengceratops is significantly different from 
other known leptoceratopsids, it is recovered as a
derived member of the group by our phylogenetic analysis. Furthermore, 
Zhuchengceratops exhibits several features
previously unknown in leptoceratopsids but seen in ceratopsids and their close 
relatives, suggesting that the distribution of
morphological features within ceratopsians is more complex than previously 
Conclusion/Significance: The discovery of Zhuchengceratops increases both the 
taxonomic diversity and the morphological
disparity of the Leptoceratopsidae, providing further support for the 
hypothesis that this clade represents a successful
radiation of horned dinosaurs in parallel with the Ceratopsidae in the Late 
Cretaceous. This documents a surprising case of
the coexistence and radiation of two closely-related lineages with contrasting 
suites of jaw and dental features that
probably reflect adaptation to different food resources.



Lukas Panzarin