A stunningly preserved partial skull of the rare dinosaur Parasaurolophus cyrtocristatus was first discovered and analyzed 97 years ago.
Skull, detailed in a new study in the journal Berg, Showing the intact structure of the creature’s nasolabial passage, providing new evidence for the evolution of the alien crest, and has been a topic of debate among paleontologists for decades.
My jaw fell when I first saw the fossil, Terry Gates, a paleontologist from North Carolina State University and lead author of the paper, He said in a statement Monday. “I’ve been waiting for nearly 20 years to see a sample of this quality.”
The tube-like logo had an internal network of airways for breathing, but it could also have been used for communication.
“For the past 100 years, ideas about the overblown tube mark have ranged from diving to super sniffers,” said David Evans, vice president of natural history at the Royal Ontario Museum. “But after decades of study, we now believe that these signs act primarily as audio resonators and visual displays used to communicate within their own species.”
The partial dinosaur skull was discovered by Smithsonian Institution ecology fellow Irene Spear in 2017 while Speer explored northwest New Mexico as part of a team of paleontologists at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
The three species of Parasaurolophus that are currently recognized at pit sites from Alberta, Canada, all the way to New Mexico, are found in rocks dating between 77 million and 73.5 million years ago.
The new study for the first time found a way to link a tube-headed dinosaur species found in southern North America with a northern species found in Alberta, Canada. The skull sample shows that the top of the dinosaurs was shaped much like the tops of other duck-billed dinosaurs.
“This specimen is a wonderful example of amazing creatures that evolved from a single ancestor,” said Joe Search, curator of dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and leader of the team that discovered the skull.
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