BRACHYCERATOPS (BRAK-ee-SAIR-ah-tops)

Period: Late Cretaceous

Order, Suborder, Family: Ornithischia, Marginocephalia, Ceratopsidae

Location: North America (Canada, United States)

Length: 5 feet (1.5 meters)

Brachyceratops montanensis was found in 1913 by paleontologist Charles W. Gilmore on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. He found parts of at least five animals of the same size, all jumbled together. In this mix of Brachyceratops bones was a single incomplete and disarticulated (not attached) skull. These fossils are now at the Smithsonian Institution. Although a few other bones of Brachyceratops have since been found, it remains a rare ceratopsian.

Because Brachyceratops was so small, and the skull Gilmore found was in pieces, many paleontologists believe that these Brachyceratops specimens were juveniles. Some paleontologists thought that Brachyceratops might be a young Monoclonius, but this has not been proven. It is probable that Brachyceratops is a separate genus. Gilmore's discovery of these five small animals together is very unusual. If these animals were juveniles, as seems likely, they may have been nest mates.

Brachyceratops had a low, thick nasal horn; small bumps over the eyes (but no real brow horns); and a moderate-size neck frill. Since some pieces of the frill are missing, it isn't known if it was fenestrated (had openings). Since it may have been a juvenile, we don't know how large it may have been as an adult. Brachyceratops was a centrosaurine ceratopsid; its closest relatives were Avaceratops, Centrosaurus, Monoclonius, Styracosaurus, and Pachyrhinosaurus.