Agathaumas (“great wonder”) is a dubious genus of a large ceratopsid dinosaur that lived in Wyoming during the Late Cretaceous (late Maastrichtian stage, 66 million years ago). The name comes from Greek, αγαν – ‘much’ and θαυμα – ‘wonder’. It is estimated to have been 9 metres (30 ft) long and weighed 6 tonnes (5.9 long tons; 6.6 short tons), and was seen as the largest land animal known at the time of its discovery.
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Clade: Dinosauria
- Order: Ornithischia
- Family: Ceratopsidae
- Subfamily: Chasmosaurinae
- Tribe: Triceratopsini
- Genus: Agathaumas Cope, 1872
- Species: A. sylvestris
- Binomial name: Agathaumas sylvestris
Agathaumas is now displayed at the Field Museum in Chicago. It was given its name, which refers to its huge size, by paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope in 1872. It is a nomen dubium, however, and some debate exists to what Agathaumas is. Cope himself originally supposed it to be a type of hadrosaur until O. Marsh described Triceratops in 1889.
Artist Charles R. Knight painted the dinosaur for Cope, creating a fantastic-looking beast, which blended the lengthy facial horns of Triceratops with the spiked frill of the Styracosaurus Dinosaur.
Agathaumas was a herbivore. It lived in the Late Cretaceous period and inhabited North America. Its fossils have been found in places such as Colorado.
Agathaumas is a dubious genus of a large ceratopsid dinosaur that lived in Wyoming during the Late Cretaceous (late Maastrichtian stage, 66 million years ago). The name comes from Greek, αγαν – ‘much’ and θαυμα – ‘wonder’. It is estimated to have been 30 ft long and weighed 6 tons, and was the largest land animal known at the time of its discovery.
It was the first ceratopsian known to science, though relatively little is known about it. The original specimen consisted only of the animal’s hip bones, hip vertebrae and ribs, and because these bones vary little between ceratopsid species, it is usually considered a nomen dubium. It is probably a synonym of Triceratops, but because the remains are so incomplete, they cannot be confidently referred to as the senior synonym of Triceratops.
The fossil remains of Agathaumas were first found in 1872 in southwestern Wyoming. They were discovered by Fielding Bradford Meek and Henry Martyn Bannister while they were looking for fossil shells in the Lance Formation (then Laramie Formation) near the Black Butte and Bitter Creek.
Meek and Bannister were employed by Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden’s Geological Survey of the Territories, and notified paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope of the find. Cope himself searched the ridge near Black Butte and re-discovered Meek’s site, finding huge bones protruding from the rocks near a coal vein.
The bones were preserved in sand and clay sediments, packed with fossil sticks and leaves, indicating a heavily forested habitat.
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Agathaumas dinosaur images