New dinosaur coin: Xenoceratops

One of the class of projects in which I have participated is the illustration of prehistoric-themed coins for the Royal Canadian Mint. These have included the popular glow-in-the-dark series (Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai, Quetzalcoatlus sp., Tylosaurus pembinensis and Tiktaalik roseae) and the silver engraved coin series (Bathygnathus borealis and Scutellosaurus).

Today, immediately following Canada Day, the Mint has released a new dinosaur-themed coin, which means I can now talk about the artwork that I did for it. The new coin is also in the silver engraved series, and features the relatively newly discovered ceratopsian dinosaur, Xenoceratops foremostensis (Ryan et al., 2012). A total of 8500 coins of this design have been minted.


Screen capture of the Royal Canadian Mint’s website showing the new silver engraved coin featuring Xenoceratops foremostensis.

The lead author of the paper describing the dinosaur, Dr. Michael J. Ryan, was also the scientific consultant on the coin’s design. Xenoceratops, a 78 million year old centrosaurine, was described as the oldest known Canadian ceratopsid, 0.5 million years older than Albertaceratops, and only 1 million years younger than the Utah taxon Diabloceratops. Earlier, I was also commissioned by Dr. Ryan to create the press release image for the dinosaur (below). Xenoceratops makes an impactful impression because of the distinctive epiparietal and squamosal spikes on its frill.


Xenoceratops foremostensis press release image accompanying the announcement of Ryan et al. (2012). Image: Julius T. Csotonyi.


Ryan, Michael J.; Evans, David C.; Shepherd, Kieran M. (2012). “A new ceratopsid from the Foremost Formation (middle Campanian) of Alberta”. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 49 (11): 1251–1262. doi:10.1139/e2012-056.