An Ultimate Guide to Nasutoceratops: Big-Nosed Horn Face

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Name Meaning“Big-Nosed Horned Face”Height1.8 – 2.1 meters (6 to 7 feet)
Pronunciationnah-soo-toh-SER-uh-topsLength4.5 meters (14.8 feet)
EraMesozoicLate CretaceousWeight1.5 tons (3,000 lbs)
ClassificationDinosauria,‭ Ornithischia & CeratopsiaLocationUSA (North America)

Nasutoceratops Pictures

Nasutoceratops 3D Illustration
Nasutoceratops 3D Illustration – CoreyFord via iStock

The Nasutoceratops

Gage Beasley Prehistoric's Nasutoceratops Concept
Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Nasutoceratops Concept

Nasutoceratops is a genus of ceratopsian dinosaurs that lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous period about 76 million years ago.

It was discovered in 2006 by Eric Karl Lund during a scientific expedition in Utah, United States.

The generic name of this dinosaur comes from the Latin and Greek words “nasutus” for “large-nosed” and “ceratops” for “horned face.”

The unique name refers to the dinosaur’s fearsome appearance due to its exceptionally long bull-like horns and its huge nose. 

Nasutoceratops is known from a few specimens, including a near-complete skull with many of its cranial features intact.

Nasutoceratops Face 3D Illustration
Nasutoceratops Face 3D Illustration | Coryford via iStock

Since members of the ceratopsian group are known for their impressive head frills and horns, the Nasutoceratops is a fascinating find for paleontologists.

Studying the dinosaur’s head armor provided a lot of interesting information about the Ceratopsian group and other related dinosaurs of their era.

In this article, we will explore some of the fascinating facts that we currently know about this genus and its significance to scientific research. 

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Gage Beasley’s Prehistoric Shirt Collection
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Gage Beasley’s Prehistoric Plush Collection

Physical Characteristics

Compared to the other members of the ceratopsid group, the Nasutoceratops is a relatively small dinosaur.

This quadrupedal herbivore has an estimated body length of roughly 14.8 feet (4.5 meters) and may have weighed up to 1.5 tonnes.

Gage Beasley Prehistoric's Nasutoceratops Size Comparison Chart
Gage Beasley Prehistoric’s Nasutoceratops Size Comparison Chart

The skull alone measured about 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) in length. 

Nasutoceratops had a robust body and walked with a strongly horizontal posture.

Based on estimates and comparisons with related ceratopsians, it is believed that this dinosaur stood around six to seven feet (1.8 to 2.1 meters) tall at the shoulder. 

One of the most distinctive features of this Nasutoceratops is its large and thick snout.

The snout extended beyond the front of the mouth, forming a long, narrow beak-like structure seen in many herbivorous dinosaurs but more prominent in this dinosaur..

Nasutoceratops also had unique rounded horns which extended forward toward the end of its mouth.

In terms of size and overall physical appearance, this dinosaur is often compared to other ceratopsids like Triceratops and Sinoceratops.

However, Nasutoceratops had a much longer horn which was shaped differently from that of other ceratopsids. 

Nasutoceratops skull reconstruction
Nasutoceratops skull reconstruction | S.D. Sampson et al. via License

The rounded shape of the Nasutoceratops’ horn, its position just above the dinosaur’s eyes, and how it curves towards the end of its mouth make the dinosaur’s facial features very similar to that of a modern cattle. 

To add to this dinosaur’s already fearsome appearance, it had a scalloped frill just behind its head, like other ceratopsian dinosaurs.

The jagged edges of the frills had spikes and other bony ornaments for added protection.

The frills had a kidney-shaped gap known as a parietal fenestra.

The dinosaur also had a small cheek horn with a length of about 3.3 inches (85 millimeters), the largest of all centrosaurines.

Scientists found skin impressions on one of this dinosaur’s bones.

The preserved impression showed that the dinosaur’s skin probably consisted of hexagonal and triangular scales that formed a pattern. 

Habitat and Distribution 

Nasutoceratops lived during the Late Cretaceous period, specifically around 76 million years ago.

Fossils of this dinosaur were first discovered in the Kaiparowits Formation, located in southern Utah, United States.

The geographic range of the Nasutoceratops is often associated with this part of North America. 

76 million years ago, the continent was remarkably different from what it is today.

The entire continent was split in two by a shallow sea forming two separate land masses (the Western Laramidia and Eastern Appalachia).

Nasutoceratops lived in Western Laramidia, and due to the limited distribution of their fossils, experts believe the dinosaur’s range was limited to this landmass. 

The western part of North America, where this dinosaur lived, was characterized by a unique array of ecosystems.

Scientists believe that the Nasutoceratops lived in a coastal plain with an abundance of lush forests, swamps, and floodplains.

3D illustration of Nasutoceratops at the beach
3D illustration of Nasutoceratops at the beach | MR1805 via iStock

The climate of the region was also warmer due to high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Nasutoceratops likely spent more time in forested areas with an abundance of vegetation.

But they could have also ventured into the open plains and riverbanks in search of food. 

Behavior and Diet

Nasutoceratops was a quadrupedal dinosaur with a robust build and strong limbs.

Scientists believe this dinosaur was capable of moving relatively quickly.

However, being a herbivore meant it had no need to run or move actively.

Instead, the dinosaur probably spent a significant amount of its time browsing for food.

Nasutoceratops in a food-filled forest
Nasutoceratops in a food-filled forest | MR1805 via iStock

Ceratopsians are known to have exhibited active social behavior, and the Nasutoceratops was no exception.

They lived in herds or groups and probably interacted with other related dinosaur species.

One piece of evidence that this dinosaur probably lived in groups is the discovery of multiple individuals at the same fossil sites.

Herbivorous dinosaurs lived in groups as a way to enhance their defense against predators or improve their foraging efficiency. 

Nasutoceratops was a herbivorous dinosaur.

It had a broad mouth and a beak-like snout.

The shape and structure of this dinosaur skull suggest that it was adapted for feeding on vegetation close to the ground. 

A pair of Nasutoceratops in search of lunch
A pair of Nasutoceratops in search of lunch | MR1805 via Istock

Based on its habitat and the time it lived, this dinosaur’s diet probably included a variety of plants, including ferns, cycads, conifers, and other low-lying vegetation.

Nasutoceratops may have used their powerful jaws and specialized teeth to efficiently process plant material.

It also had strong jaws, which would have allowed it to exert significant force when feeding on tough plant materials.

Scientists think the Nasutoceratops had a keen sense of smell and visual acuity, which helped to locate suitable food sources and avoid prey. 

Life Cycle 

Ceratopsians, including Nasutoceratops, had elaborate cranial ornaments such as horns and frills.

These features were likely used for display purposes, attracting mates, and establishing social hierarchies. 

During the breeding season, males may have engaged in courtship displays, such as head bobbing, horn clashing, and visual exhibitions, to compete for mating opportunities and establish dominance.

A Nasutoceratops in the desert displays its dominance
A Nasutoceratops in the desert displays its dominance | MR1805 via iStock

Like other ceratopsians, Nasutoceratops probably laid eggs in communal nests.

The nests were likely constructed on the ground, similar to many modern-day birds and reptiles.

Although we have no direct fossil evidence of Nasutoceratops nests, scientists once discovered a Protoceratops nest in rocks dating back to roughly 84- to 75 million years ago in central Asia.

The nest had at least 15 juveniles at the early stages of their development. 

After hatching, Nasutoceratops most likely went through a period of rapid growth, much like many other dinosaurs.

They were likely precocial, meaning that they were relatively well-developed and able to move shortly after hatching.

As juveniles, Nasutoceratops would have exhibited different proportions compared to adults, with shorter horns and smaller frills.

In the following years, the juvenile dinosaurs would experience rapid growth and major morphological changes as they matured, with their frills and horns becoming more prominent.

Research suggests that Nasutoceratops and other related dinosaurs did not achieve full mating potential until they were almost fully grown.

Scientists think their slow rate of developing mating signals is indicative of hierarchical social structures which allowed only fully mature, dominant individuals full mating rights.

Nasutoceratops titusi, Cast of UMNH VP 16800, on display at the Natural History Museum of Utah, Salt Lake City.
Impressive headgear mattered for mating rights | Jens Lallensack via License

This behavior is seen in many animals today that exhibit herding behavior and other social structures.

In these groups, young males are typically sexually mature for several years before they’re actually able to breed. 

Evolution and History

Nasutoceratops is a member of the ceratopsid family, which includes various horned dinosaurs.

Specifically, this dinosaur belongs to the Centrosaurinae subfamily, a group characterized by the possession of long frills and large brow horns. 

Nasutoceratops represent a unique branch within the evolutionary history of ceratopsids.

The earliest known ceratopsids appeared in the Late Jurassic period, and over time, they diversified into different subfamilies and genera.

The group was among the most successful herbivorous dinosaurs to have ever lived. 

Nasutoceratops lived during the Late Cretaceous period, around 76 million years ago.

This places it towards the end of the ceratopsid evolutionary timeline.

Back when this dinosaur was alive, the North American continent was divided into two by the Western Interior Seaway.

The centrosaurine‭ ‬ceratopsian dinosaurs lived on an island landmass isolated from the rest of the continent. 

Ceratopsian Skulls at The Natural History Museum of Utah
Ceratopsian Skulls at The Natural History Museum of Utah | skinnylawyer via License

Due to the geological barriers that kept these dinosaurs from spreading southwards, the isolated populations may have evolved features different from some of their relatives on the other end of the continent.

Its elongated snout and downturned “nose” are unique characteristics that show slight variations compared to other members of its family.

Additionally, the large, elaborate frill and long inward curving horns set Nasutoceratops apart from its relatives.

Interactions With Other Species

As a large herbivore, Nasutoceratops would have been a primary consumer in its habitat, feeding on a variety of low-lying vegetation such as ferns, cycads, and other plants.

The large size and herbivorous diet suggest that it likely occupied a high position in the food chain.

The abundance of vegetation in its environment would have provided ample food resources for Nasutoceratops and other herbivorous dinosaurs.

Animals by a Kaiparowits Formation
Animals by a Kaiparowits Formation | ABelov2014 via License

However, the dinosaur would have faced potential threats from carnivorous dinosaurs that shared its ecosystem.

The Late Cretaceous period was home to a diverse range of predators.

In Western Laremidia, where this dinosaur lived, the most dominant predators included theropods such as the troodontid Talos and tyrannosaurs like the Teratophoneus.

The Nasutoceratops’ horns and frills would have worked great as defensive mechanisms against these predators.

Evidence also suggests that they lived in herds or groups, which would have provided additional protection from predators. 

Within the herbivorous niche, Nasutoceratops may have encountered competition from other plant-eating dinosaurs.

For example, other ceratopsians like Utahceratops and Kosmoceratops may have occupied overlapping ranges and competed for similar food resources. 

Gage Beasley Prehistoric's Kosmoceratops Concept
Kosmoceratops likely competed with Nasutoceratops

The availability and distribution of vegetation would have influenced the extent of competition among herbivorous dinosaurs.

However, niche differentiation might have made it easier for the herbivorous dinosaurs to coexist. 

Cultural Significance

Nasutoceratops is valuable to paleontologists and scientists studying dinosaur evolution, morphology, and biodiversity.

Its discovery and subsequent study have provided insights into the diversity and adaptations of ceratopsid dinosaurs during the Late Cretaceous period. 

By analyzing the differences in this dinosaur’s anatomy and comparing it to other ceratopsians, scientists can better understand the evolutionary relationships and ecological roles of these fascinating creatures.

Nasutoceratops has expanded our knowledge of ceratopsid evolution and the paleoecology of ancient ecosystems.

Although Nasutoceratops does not have the same level of recognition as more iconic dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus rex or the similar-looking Triceratops, the dinosaur still has some level of popularity among dinosaur enthusiasts.

Its distinct appearance, particularly its long snout and elaborate frill, is quite fascinating and has contributed to its representation in popular culture. 

Earthquake alert! | MR1805 via iStock

Nasutoceratops and other similar-looking dinosaurs have been featured in books, documentaries, and other media, spreading awareness about the diversity of ceratopsid dinosaurs.

One specific example of Nasutoceratops’ representation in popular culture is its inclusion in the video game “Jurassic World Evolution.”

The game allows players to build and manage their own dinosaur theme park.

Nasutoceratops is one of the dinosaur species that users can include in their park. 


Nasutoceratops was a medium-sized plant-eating dinosaur that lived in North America approximately 76 million years ago.

The Nasutoceratops belong to a group of dinosaurs known for their elaborate head ornaments.

The dinosaur is popular for its exceptionally long horns, massive frills, and elongated snout and its name is a reference to these facial attributes. 

Nasutoceratops was a herbivore, and scientists think they may have lived in small groups or herds.

It was a low-browser and grazer that fed on ferns, cycads, and conifers that were abundant during the Cretaceous.

Due to this dinosaur’s position in the ceratopsid evolutionary timeline and its geographical restriction to a specific part of the North American continent, the study of the Nasutoceratops provides a lot of insights into the evolution of their dinosaur group.

Paleontologists have learned a lot from Ceratopsian evolution and other interesting insights about their anatomy, behavior, and ecological significance by studying the peculiarities of the Nasutoceratops genus. 


What does the name “Nasutoceratops” mean?

The name “Nasutoceratops” translates as “long-snouted horned face.”

It is derived from the Latin word “Nasuto” meaning “long-snouted,” referring to its elongated snout, and the Greek word “ceratops” meaning “horned face.”

“Ceratops” is a common suffix in ceratopsian dinosaur names).

When and where was Nasutoceratops discovered?

Nasutoceratops was discovered in 2006 in the Kaiparowits Formation in Southern Utah, USA.

The fossils were found in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and the discovery was formally described and published in 2013.

How big was Nasutoceratops compared to other dinosaurs?

Nasutoceratops was a large dinosaur, but its exact size is still uncertain due to limited fossil material.

Based on estimates from related ceratopsians, it is believed to have reached lengths of around five to six meters (16 to 20 feet) and weighed 1.5 tons.

However, further discoveries and research may refine these estimates.

What are the distinctive features of Nasutoceratops?

Nasutoceratops is known for its unique and notable features.

Its most distinct characteristic is its long, slender snout or “nose,” distinguishing it from other ceratopsians.

It also possessed a large, elaborately adorned frill at the back of its skull, adorned with triangular plates and spikes.

Additionally, Nasutoceratops had brow horns projecting from its forehead, although they were relatively short compared to some other ceratopsians.


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