Machairoceratops cronusi is aptly named after the Greek word “machairis” meaning “bent sword” and the sickle or scythe-wielding Greek titan Cronus. Its unusually-shaped spikes, which measured about 1.2m (4ft) long, are suspected to be a part of a flashy mating display, but the exact function is still uncertain.
In life, Machairoceratops likely reached 6-8m (20-26ft) and weighed 1-2 tons, only half the weight of Triceratops, the largest ceratopsian known to date. This estimate is based on comparisons with its close relatives, because only parts of its skull have been found.
The dinosaur lived around 81-77 million years ago when North America was split by a large inland sea into two landmasses: Appalachia in the east and Laramidia, which stretches across the modern day’s west coast from Alaska to Mexico. While several fossils of ceratopsians have been excavated and identified from the Canadian part of Laramidia, the southern half of the continent which covers Utah to Mexico is left largely unexplored.