Anchiceratops is an extinct genus of chasmosaurine ceratopsid dinosaur that lived approximately 72 to 71 million years ago during the latter part of the Cretaceous Period in what is now Alberta, Canada. Anchiceratops was a medium-sized, heavily built, ground-dwelling, quadrupedal herbivore that could grow up to an estimated 5 m (16.4 ft) long. Its skull featured two long brow horns and a short horn on the nose. The skull frill was elongated and rectangular, its edges adorned by coarse triangular projections. About a dozen skulls of the genus have been found.
Like other ceratopsids, A. ornatus was a quadrupedal herbivore with three horns on its face, a parrot-like beak, and a long frill extending from the back of its head. The two horns above the eyes were longer than the single horn on its snout, as in other chasmosaurines.
Anchiceratops was a medium-sized ceratopsid. If specimen NMC 8547 is not taken into account, no very exact estimations of the body length of Anchiceratops can be given. Some popular science book state that it approached 20 feet (6 m) in length. In 2010 Gregory S. Paul, on the assumption that specimen NMC 8547 represented Anchiceratops, estimated its length at 4.3 metres, its weight at 1.2 tonnes.
Anchiceratops frills are very distinctive. Rectangular in shape, the frill is edged by large epoccipitals, which are osteoderms in the form of triangular bony projections. These are exceptionally wide and coarse. Some of these epoccipitals are on the side of the frill, formed by the squamosal; these episquamosals vary between five and nine in number. The last episquamosal is very large, approaching the size of the three osteoderms per side on the rear edge of the frill, the epiparietals. Another characteristic feature is the pair of bony knobs located on either side of the midline, towards the end of the frill. These are pointing sideways and are very variable in form and size between individuals. The parietal bone, forming the rear edge and the middle of the frill, has smaller parietal fenestrae, window-like openings, than those seen in other chasmosaurines like Pentaceratops and Torosaurus. The frill has deep arterial grooves on both the upper and the underside.
Specimen NMC 8547, on which traditionally descriptions of the postcrania of Anchiceratops have been based, has many traits that are unique in the Chasmosaurinae. The vertebral column contains seventy-four vertebrae: ten of the neck, thirteen dorsals, twelve sacrals and thirty-nine caudals. Typically chasmosaurines have twelve dorsals, ten sacrals and up to forty-six tail vertebrae. Mallon presumed that the synsacrum, the fused vertebrae supporting the pelvis, had shifted to the rear. The neck of NMC 8547 is exceptionally long, with four syncervicals, fused anterior cervical vertebrae. Also the pelvis is very long. The tail is short. The forelimbs are very robust, with a large deltopectoral crest on the humerus, indicating a heavy musculature.
In The Land Before Time
A green Anchiceratops appears in the background of a scene in The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire. It is seen sleeping in a group of Great Valley residents, with the Anchiceratops itself sleeping behind Daddy Topps.