Michael J. Ryan, Robert Holmes, Jordan Mallon, Mark Loewen & David C. Evans (2017)
A basal ceratopsid (Centrosaurinae: Nasutoceratopsini) from the Oldman Formation (Campanian) of Alberta, Canada.
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 54: (advance online publication)
A partial skull (CMN 8804) of a ceratopsid from the upper unit of the Campanian Oldman Formation of Alberta is the first Canadian example of the newly established Nasutoceratopsini, a new subclade of Centrosaurinae defined as the stem-based clade of centrosaurine ceratopsids more closely related to Nasutoceratops titusi than to Centrosaurus apertus. The new clade is diagnosed, in part, by having a parietosquamosal frill lacking modified epimarginals; a small nasal horncore; large, rostrolaterally directed postorbital horncores; and a relatively short, deep face. Although the CMN 8804 taxon closely resembles Nasutoceratops, its phylogenetic position within Nasutoceratopsini is unresolved. The CMN 8804 taxon would have been contemporaneous with dinosaurs from the lower portion of the Dinosaur Park Formation 200 km to the northwest in Dinosaur Provincial Park. The presence of the CMN 8804 taxon in Alberta, and the approximately contemporaneous Nasutoceratops in Utah, indicates that the nasutoceratopsins persisted in both north and south Laramidia well after the first appearance (i.e., Coronosaurus brinkmani) of the newly defined Centrosaurini. This stem-based clade is composed of centrosaurine ceratopsids with well-adorned parietosquamosal frills and short postorbital horncores that are more closely related to Centrosaurus apertus than Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis. The rarity of nasutoceratopsins in the well-sampled sediments of Laramidia suggests that they may have had different ecological preferences than centrosaurins, or that their relatively non-diagnostic, fragmentary remains may be misidentified as other centrosaurins. The temporally (~79–76 Ma) and geographically (Utah to Alberta) large distributions of Nasutoceratopsini weakens the hypothesis of distinct north and south Laramidian provinciality.