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Episode 613

Ceratosaurus
Tue, 2019-Jan-08 00:34 UTC
Length - 4:38

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Tuesday, 8 January 2019 is Ceratosaurus.

Ceratosaurus (from Greek κέρας/κέρατος, keras/keratos meaning "horn" and σαῦρος/sauros meaning "lizard") was a predatory theropod dinosaur in the Late Jurassic Period (Kimmeridgian to Tithonian). This genus was first described in 1884 by American paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh based on a nearly complete skeleton discovered in Garden Park, Colorado, in rocks belonging to the Morrison Formation. The type species is Ceratosaurus nasicornis.

The Garden Park specimen remains the most complete skeleton known from the genus, and only a handful of additional specimens have been described since. Two additional species, Ceratosaurus dentisulcatus and Ceratosaurus magnicornis, have been described in 2000 from two fragmentary skeletons from the Cleveland-Lloyd Quarry of Utah and from the vicinity of Fruita, Colorado. The validity of these additional species has been questioned, however, and it is possible that all three skeletons represent different growth stages of the same species. In 1999, the discovery of the first juvenile specimen was reported. Since 2000, a partial specimen was excavated and described from the Lourinhã Formation of Portugal, providing evidence for the presence of the genus outside of North America. Fragmentary remains have also been reported from Tanzania, Uruguay, and Switzerland, although their assignment to Ceratosaurus is currently not accepted by most paleontologists.

Ceratosaurus was a medium-sized theropod. The original specimen is estimated to be 5.3 m (17 ft) or 5.69 m (18.7 ft) long, while the specimen described as C. dentisulcatus was larger, at around 7 m (23 ft) long. Ceratosaurus was characterized by deep jaws that supported proportionally very long, blade-like teeth, a prominent, ridge-like horn on the midline of the snout and a pair of horns over the eyes. The forelimbs were very short but remained fully functional; the hand possessed four fingers. The tail was deep from top to bottom. A row of small osteoderms (skin bones) was present down the middle of the neck, back, and tail. Additional osteoderms were present at unknown positions on the animal's body.

Ceratosaurus gives its name to the Ceratosauria, a clade of theropod dinosaurs that diverged early from the evolutionary lineage leading to modern birds. Within Ceratosauria, some paleontologists proposed it to be most closely related to Genyodectes from Argentina, which shares the strongly elongated teeth. The geologically older genus Proceratosaurus from England, although originally described as a presumed antecedent of Ceratosaurus, was later found to be unrelated. Ceratosaurus shared its habitat with other large theropod genera including Torvosaurus and Allosaurus, and it has been suggested that these theropods occupied different ecological niches to reduce competition. Ceratosaurus may have preyed upon plant-eating dinosaurs, although some paleontologists suggested that it hunted aquatic prey such as fish. The nasal horn was probably not used as a weapon as was originally suggested by Marsh, but more likely was used solely for display.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:34 UTC on Tuesday, 8 January 2019.

For the full current version of the article, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceratosaurus.

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