The horned dinosaurs (Ceratopsidae) were a diverse family of herbivorous dinosaurs originating in the Late Cretaceous in western North America (Laramidia). As one of the most species-rich dinosaur groups, their diversity and distribution are important to understanding Cretaceous dinosaur evolution. Ceratopsids have previously been hypothesized to have high levels of endemism despite inhabiting a relatively small land mass with few barriers to dispersal. Here, we document a new chasmosaurine ceratopsid, Sierraceratops turneri gen. et sp. nov., from the Upper Cretaceous (latest Campanian–Maastrichtian) Hall Lake Formation of south-central New Mexico, consistent with the hypothesis that southern Laramidia supported an endemic dinosaur fauna. Sierraceratops is distinguished by its relatively short, robust, and mediolaterally compressed postorbital horns; a flattened medial ridge on the posterior end of the pterygoid; a jugal with pronounced anterior flanges; a long pyramid-shaped epijugal horncore; a D-shaped cross section of the median parietal bar; and a squamosal with a pointed tip and low episquamosal ossifications. Phylogenetic analysis recovers Sierraceratops as sister to Bravoceratops and Coahuilaceratops, part of a clade endemic to the southwestern United States and Mexico. Sierraceratops adds to the diversity and disparity of the Chasmosaurinae in the Late Cretaceous and provides additional evidence for Laramidian endemism. Together with Sierraceratops, the Hall Lake Formation dinosaur fauna suggests that the latest Cretaceous of southern Laramidia was characterized by endemic clades and distinct community structures.
- Vertebrate Paleontology