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Some dinosaurs had fleshy head ornaments

Posted on Wednesday, 18 December, 2013 | Comment icon 10 comments

Duck-billed dinosaurs may have used their head ornaments to attract a mate. Image Credit: Heinrich Harder
The discovery of a mummified dinosaur has helped to piece together how some species might have looked.
The well preserved specimen of a duck-billed dinosaur known as Edmontosauraus regalis discovered in Alberta, Canada would have been unremarkable were it not for one unusual addition - traces of an ornamental crest on the creature's head not dissimilar to the comb found on that of a rooster.

"This is the first evidence of an entirely soft-tissue crest for any dinosaur," said study lead author Dr Phil Bell. "Bony crests are well known but skin rarely fossilises and even when it does, it is almost never found on the skull."

It is believed that these fleshy head ornaments may have been used as a way for the dinosaur to attract a mate in a similar way to the colorful displays exhibited by some modern birds.

The remarkable preservation of the fossil is thought to have been the result of the animal becoming buried in sediment almost immediately after death, something that happens very rarely.

Source: BBC News | Comments (10)

Tags: Dinosaur

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Eldorado on 12 December, 2013, 22:10
Comment icon #2 Posted by Sundew on 18 December, 2013, 13:08
Or Poseursaurs, perhaps?
Comment icon #3 Posted by DieChecker on 19 December, 2013, 1:28
Rooster-o-saurous. I originally read that the dinosaur was mummified (Another article on this dino). But then I thought that can't be right, because it would still be flesh and bone. Apparently they meant that it mummified and then was fossilized. My speculation is that this fleshy comb was what led to the other hadrosaurs having bony projections on their heads. If the comb was desirable, then a dino with a bony bump under it making the comb taller, or larger, might have been even more desirable and thus the plethora of different hadrosaur skull types.
Comment icon #4 Posted by TheGreatBeliever on 19 December, 2013, 5:15
An oversized rooster
Comment icon #5 Posted by ShadowSot on 19 December, 2013, 5:19
Yeah, fossilized mummified remains have been a big boon towards understanding how dinosaurs looked and their musculature. I remember reading a while back that the view of the noses of dinosaurs had been mistaken as well. Bigger, fleshier schnoz for the plant eaters.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Xanthurion2 on 19 December, 2013, 9:21
Comment icon #7 Posted by Chooky88 on 19 December, 2013, 9:43
Cockasauraus Rex?
Comment icon #8 Posted by highdesert50 on 20 December, 2013, 17:04
The fleshy crests on fowl are a distinguishing characteristic for breed and health as well as for cooling in lieu of perspiration. One has to wonder if these creatures were "warm blooded" and also used the crest in a similar manner.
Comment icon #9 Posted by ShadowSot on 21 December, 2013, 5:26
As I recall, the theropods were warm blooded, while the largest dinosaurs were what's called gigantothermic. And the marine reptiles have been found to have been warm blooded as well.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Duchess Gummybuns on 22 December, 2013, 17:42
Fleshy things on their heads? Y'know, for the ladyasaurs...

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