Dinosaur for a normal person is something gigantic, huge and incredibly frightening. However this is not the complete truth and there are a small minority which do not fit into the common notion of a Dinosaur. Remains of a dinosaur which roamed in North America have been excavated and they grew no more than a crow and weighed as much as a rabbit. This modest looking plant eater lived about 108 million years ago in southern Montana and prefigured the terrible horned dinosaurs that inhabited North America thousands of years later.
Scientists on Wednesday declared the finding of fossil of the oldest known horned dinosaur species from North America. It was named Aquilops americanus and is much akin to dinosaurs from Asia. Ceratopsians, the horned dinosaur lineage first appeared in Asia but reached its zenith in North America and prominent being Triceratops, a 30-foot-long, six-ton beast with lengthy, sharp horns over its eyes and nose and a bony shield beyond its neck.
Before the advent of Triceratops, Aquilops lived about 40 million years and possibly 20 million years before Zuniceratops, the next oldest ceratopsian spotted from North America.
Paleontologist Andrew Farke of the Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology in Claremont, California, who led the research issued in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. Said, “Aquilops is identified from a skull and lower jaws, which allow us to nail down its position in the dinosaur family tree pretty precisely.”
Farke further added “Aquilops most importantly is more closely related to horned dinosaurs from Asia than it is to horned dinosaurs from North America such as Triceratops. This revealed that horned dinosaurs possibly migrated into North America from Asia at least two different time period.”
Aquilops are believed to be about 2 feet long and could weigh up to 2.5 pounds. They had a skull which is 3.3 inches long and later dinosaurs evolved and had sharp beaks to cut off the plants it ate. Unlike the ceratopsians which appeared later, the Aquilops were bipedal and did not have horns on its face but had a set of spikes on its face.