Cranial anatomy of the small ornithischian dinosaur Changchunsaurus parvus from the Quantou Formation (Cretaceous: Aptian–Cenomanian) of Jilin Province, northeastern China
ABSTRACT The Quantou Formation of Jilin Province, People's Republic of China, has recently yielded an important new fauna of ?middle? Cretaceous vertebrates. This fauna includes the small-bodied cerapodan ornithischian dinosaur Changchunsaurus parvus, represented by excellent cranial and postcranial material. When initially described, Changchunsaurus was hypothesed to represent one of the most basal known ornithopods; however, similarities to ceratopsians were also noted, suggesting that Changchunsaurus may be crucial to elucidating the interrelationships of basal cerapodans, one of most problematic areas of ornithischian phylogeny. Here we present a detailed description of the craniodental anatomy of Changchunsaurus, rediagnose the taxon based upon three autapomorphies, and provide comparisons to other basal cerapodans, as a foundation for future studies of basal cerapodan relationships. Changchunsaurus shows strong similarities to the Chinese Early Cretaceous cerapodan Jeholosaurus, and it is likely that they are sister taxa.