The cat-sized early ‘ceratopsian’
Aquilops americanus (Farke et al., 2014; OMNH 34557; Early Cretaceous; skull length 8.4cm) is visible online at the Sam Noble Museum website (links below). The 3D imagery is fascinating to roll, zoom and pitch (some restoration is present).
According to Farke et al. 2014:
“The taxon is interpreted as a basal neoceratopsian closely related to Early Cretaceous Asian taxa, such as Liaoceratops and Auroraceratops.” The large reptile tree (LRT, 1302 taxa) does not include these two, but when tested Aquilops nested several nodes apart from the included neoceratopsians, between two bipeds, Laquintasaurus and Hexinlusaurus. These two are not included in Farke et al., but they are basal to psittacosaurs and ceratopsians in the LRT. We’ll look at Aquilops in detail tomorrow and try to iron out the differences.
Farke AA, Maxwell WD, Cifelli RL and Wedel MJ 2014. A Ceratopsian Dinosaur from the Lower Cretaceous of Western North America, and the Biogeography of Neoceratopsia. PLoS ONE. 9 (12): e112055. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0112055