A Reevaluation of Sexual Dimorphism in the Postcranium of the Chasmosaurine Ceratopsid Chasmosaurus belli (Dinosauria: Ornithischia)


  • Jordan C. Mallon Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
  • Robert B. Holmes Research Division, Palaeobiology, Canadian Museum of Nature, P.O. Box 3443, Station D, Ottawa, Ontario K1P 6P4




Chasmosaurus, Ceratopsia, Dinosaur Park Formation, sexual dimorphism, variation, Alberta


The sexual dimorphism attributed to Chasmosaurus belli by Sternberg (1927) is revisited and reevaluated. A reexamination of the two specimens originally considered by Sternberg reveals that they are less complete than first suggested, with only a moderate amount of overlapping material between them. Only a few of the postcranial elements (humeri, sternal plates, and presacral vertebrae) show evidence of dimorphism, the significance of which is either doubtful or equivocal. Instead of representing sexual dimorphs, it is likely that the two specimens belong to separate species, C. belli and C. russelli, as evidenced by their distinct frill morphologies and by their stratigraphic segregation within the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta. These findings emphasize the need to remain sceptical about claims advocating sexual dimorphism in the fossil record in the absence of statistical significance or stratigraphic control.