The remains of several Vagaceratops skulls were excavated from the Upper Dinosaur Park Formation in Alberta, Canada, during 1958. It took many years for this dinosaur to be recognized as a distinct species, but in 2001 it was finally regarded as a new species of Chasmosaurus called ‘C. irvinensis’. This name refers to Irvine, Alberta, where the first specimen was found. A later study published in 2010 recognized it as a distinct from Chasmosaurus and so it was given a new genus name as well, Vagaceratops, meaning ‘wandering horned-face’.
Vagaceratops is unusual because it lacks brow horns and has a square bony frill. Its frill contains a pair of large openings so it was not solid bone and wasn’t a reliable shield. It was more likely used for show than for protection, and might have been colorful.
The horned dinosaurs or ceratopsians are sometimes referred to as the ‘buffalo of the Cretaceous’ because they lived in large herds. Herds of Vagaceratops lived in Alberta during the late Campanian stage of the Cretaceous period around 75 million years ago.