The Prenocephale was a small, two-legged herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous period in what is now Mongolia. It was a member of the ceratopsian family, including the likes of Triceratops and Psittacosaurus. Prenocephale was a relatively unspecialized ceratopsian, meaning it did not have its more well-known cousins’ large horns or frills. Nevertheless, it was a successful dinosaur with a large geographic range and a long lifespan.

Key Facts

Prenocephale pronunciationpreen-oh-keff-ah-lee
What does Prenocephale mean?Sloping head
Dinosaur typeOrnithopod
On the menuHerbivorous
Length2.5 meters (8 feet)
Height0.9 m (3 feet)
Weight130 kg (about 290 lbs)
Life expectancyUnknown
Legs used to get aroundBipedal
Estimated top speedUnknown
When they livedUpper Cretaceous era (80-65 million years ago).
Where they have been found?Mongolia

When & Where

The first fossils were discovered in the Nemegt Formation in Mongolia by a team of Soviet paleontologists in 1966. They were named Prenocephale by Soviet paleontologist Evgeny M. Krupensky in the same year. The name Prenocephale comes from the Greek words “prenes” and “kephalos”, meaning “sloping head”. This is in reference to the fact that the Prenocephale had a small head relative to its body size. The Prenocephale was a relatively rare dinosaur, with only a handful of fossils having been found. The vast majority of these fossils have been found in Mongolia.

Size & Weight

There are no exact clues as to what the body of the Prenocephale truly looked like. Descriptions from the only known remains – a preserved skull and a few small bones, depict the Prenocephale as a small dinosaur, measuring just over two feet in length. It had a round body and a short tail. Like its close relative, the Homalocephale, the Prenocephale possessed a thick dome-shaped bone skull and weighed an estimated 150 kg. 

Mobility & Diet

The Prenocephale were herbivorous and bipedal, meaning they walked on two legs. They had short arms, each with three fingers. It is thought they fed on low-lying plants, such as ferns and mosses, and lived in herds. This is based on the fact that many Prenocephale fossils have been found together in one location. 

Interesting Points

  • The Prenocephale has appeared in the American television series Dinosaur planet. 
  • They had very particular plant food preferences because of their narrow snout. 
  • Its remains were discovered in rock strata from the Nemegt Formation in Mongolia.

Featured Image Credit: Foolp, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons