Although the ceratopsids are generally big animals, Avaceratops is quite small. It is known from an almost complete skeleton missing only the hip bones, much of the tail and, frustratingly, the roof of the skull including the horn cores. The skeleton found is not an adult, since most of the skull came apart before it fossilised, but it was almost fully grown when it died.
Name: Avaceratops, meaning ‘Ava’s horned face’ (from Ava Cole, the wife of the discoverer)
Size: 2.5m, but this was a juvenile. The grown animal was probably 4m.
Food: Low-growing plants
Lived: between 100 – 66 million years ago in the late Cretaceous Period, in North America
This small ceratopsid has a short frill that is quite thick. Like other centrosaurines, it has a short, deep snout, a powerful lower jaw with batteries of double-rooted shearing teeth, and a beak like that of a parrot. It is assumed that like other centrosaurines, it has a bigger horn on the nose than above the eyes. It may be a juvenile or subadult of some other genus such as Monoclinius.
Avaceratops was a herbivore. It chopped off the stems with its parrot beak-like mouth. Avaceratops then sliced up the woody parts of the plants with rows of sharp teeth at the back of its jaws.
It is possible that Avaceratops could run quite fast on its four well-muscled legs. As it ran, it balanced itself with its heavy tail which it held off the ground.
So far, only part of one skeleton of Avaceratops has been discovered. It was found in 1981 in Montana, USA. It was not named until 1988.
Some scientists think that these animals may have lived in large herds, roaming the North American plains.