Saurolophus (/sɔːˈrɒləfəs/; meaning "lizard crest") is a genus of large saurolophine hadrosaurid dinosaurs that lived about 70.0–68.5 million years ago,[1] in the Late Cretaceous of North America and Asia; it is one of the few genera of dinosaurs known from multiple continents. It is distinguished by a spike-like crest which projects up and back from the skull. Saurolophus was a herbivorous dinosaur which could move about either bipedally or quadrupedally.

The type species, S. osborni, was described by Barnum Brown in 1912 from Canadian fossils. A second valid species, S. angustirostris, is represented by numerous specimens from Mongolia, and was described by Anatoly Konstantinovich Rozhdestvensky.

Temporal range: Maastrichtian, 70–68.5 Ma
Saurolophus mount
S. angustirostris skeleton and skull
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Ornithischia
Suborder: Ornithopoda
Family: Hadrosauridae
Subfamily: Saurolophinae
Tribe: Saurolophini
Genus: Saurolophus
Brown, 1912
Type species
Saurolophus osborni
Brown, 1912

S. osborni Brown, 1912
S. angustirostris Rozhdestvensky, 1952

Discovery and history

Saurolophus excavation
Photo from the excavation of S. osborni in 1911

Barnum Brown recovered the first described remains of Saurolophus in 1911, including a nearly complete skeleton (AMNH 5220). Now on display in the American Museum of Natural History, this skeleton was the first nearly complete dinosaur skeleton from Canada. It was found in rocks of early Maastrichtian age, in the Upper Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation (then known as the Edmonton Formation) near Tolman Ferry on the Red Deer River in Alberta. Brown wasted little time in describing his material,[2][3] giving it its own subfamily.[4] Saurolophus was an important early reference for other hadrosaurs, as seen in the names of Prosaurolophus ("before Saurolophus") and Parasaurolophus ("near Saurolophus"). However, little additional material has been recovered and described.

Instead, more abundant remains from Asia have provided more data. Initial remains were not promising; a partial fragmentary ischium from Heilongjiang, China, that Riabinin named S. kryschtofovici.[5] Much better remains were soon recovered, though, but from Mongolia's early Maastrichtian-age Nemegt Formation. The 1946–1949 Russian-Mongolian paleontological expeditions recovered the large skeleton that became S. angustirostris as described by Anatoly Rozhdestvensky.[6] Other skeletons from a variety of growth stages have also been discovered, and S. angustirostris is now the most abundant Asian hadrosaurid.[7]


Saurolophus skeleton
A photograph of the panel mount of the holotype of S. osborni, from Barnum Brown, 1913

Two species are regarded as valid today: the type species S. osborni, and S. angustirostris. S. osborni Brown, 1912 is known from a skull and skeleton, two other complete skulls, and skull fragments. S. angustirostris (Rozhdestvensky, 1952) is known from at least 15 specimens.[8] It differs from S. osborni by some details of the skull, as well as in the pattern of scales found in skin impressions. The Mongolian species had a longer skull (by 20%) and the front of the snout (the premaxillary bones) were more upwardly directed.[9] S. angustirostris also had a distinctive row of rectangular scales along the midline of the back and tail, known as 'midline feature-scales'; these are not currently preserved in S. osborni. In S. angustirostris, the scales on the tail flank were arranged in vertical patterns, which may have corresponded to striped coloration in life. This area was covered in radial scale patterns in S. osborni, possibly indicating a more mottled or spotted coloration.[10] S. kryschtofovici Riabinin, 1930 is not considered valid; either it is regarded as a dubious name,[11][8] or as a synonym of S. angustirostris[7] (although the name antedates S. angustirostris).[12]

Saurolophus angustirostris
Restoration of S. angustirostris

Until a 2011 reevaluation of the species by Phil R. Bell, S. angustoristris was not well-described. No autapomorphies, unique derived traits, had been established distinguishing it from S. osborni. Bell found in a publication earlier in the year that the two previous studies of S. angustirostris, by Rozhdestvensky in 1952, and Maryanska and Osmolska in 1981, do not provide a comprehensive enough description to compare the species with S. osborni.[13]

In 1939–40, two partial skeletons were found in the late Maastrichtian age Moreno Formation of California. These specimens were referred to cf. Saurolophus sp. In 2010, one of the skulls was instead assigned to Edmontosaurus.[14] A 2013 placed the two specimens in a new species, S. morrisi.[12] In 2014, the species was reassigned to a new genus, Augustynolophus.[15]


The size of the two Saurolophus species compared to a human

Saurolophus is known from material including nearly complete skeletons, giving researchers a clear picture of its bony anatomy. S. osborni, the rarer Albertan species, was around 8.2 m (27 ft) long, with its skull 1.0 m (3.3 ft) long.[16][17] It has been estimated to have weighted around 3 tonnes (3.0 long tons; 3.3 short tons).[17] S. angustirostris, the Mongolian species, was larger; it got as large as 13 m (43 ft) in length, and larger remains are reported. It has been estimated to have potentially weighed up to 11 tonnes (11 long tons; 12 short tons).[17] The largest known skull of S.angustirostris measures 1.22 m (4.0 ft) in length.[13] Aside from size, the two species are virtually identical, with differentiation hindered by lack of study.[11]

Saurolophus scalation
Restoration of S. osborni

The most distinctive feature of Saurolophus is its cranial crest, which is present in young individuals, but is smaller. It is long and spike-like and projects upward and backward at about a 45° angle, starting from over the eyes. This crest is often described as solid, but appears to be solid only at the point, with internal chambers that may have had a respiratory and/or heat-regulation function.[18] The unique crest of Saurolophus is made up almost completely by the nasal bones, and in S. angustirostris it is solid. In adult specimens the crests are a rounded triangular shape in cross section. The crest protrudes past the edge of the skull backwards. Thin processes from the frontals and prefrontals extend along the underside of the crest, probably to strengthen it. At the end of the crest is a swelling of the nasal, which is often termed differently.[13]

The holotype of S. angustirostris is a skull and postcrania, so the cranium of the species is well-described. Bell et al. re-evaluated the entire species in a 2011 publication with Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. Their description found the skull to be generalized among hadrosaurines, and are much larger than any skulls of S. osborni. The most unusual feature for a hadrosaurine is the long, protruding, solid crest that extends upwards diagonally from the back of the skull roof. Unlike lambeosaurines, the crests are made up completely of the nasal bone. The premaxilla bones make up almost 50% of the entire skull length, and both sides are filled with small holes. Only in adult individuals has the front of the premaxillary contact been fused. Longer than the premaxilla, the nasal bones are the longest in the skull. They make up the entire length of the crest, and are never preserved as fused.[13]


Saurolophus skull
Skull of the holotype specimen of S. osborni
Saurolophus angustirostris skin
S. angustirostris skin impressions

Barnum Brown, who described the first specimens, put it in its own subfamily in "Trachodontidae" (=Hadrosauridae), the Saurolophinae. At the time, this also included Corythosaurus and Hypacrosaurus, the only well-known examples of what would become the Lambeosaurinae.[4] Brown thought that Saurolophus had an expanded tip to the ischium bone in the hip, as dinosaurs now recognized as lambeosaurines had, but this appears to have been based on a mistakenly associated lambeosaurine ischium. Additionally, he misinterpreted the crests of Saurolophus and lambeosaurines as being made of the same bones.[19]

Most publications before 2010 classified Saurolophus as a member of Hadrosaurinae, often known colloquially as the "flat-headed hadrosaurs". In 2010, the subfamily Saurolophinae was brought back into use because Hadrosaurus appears to have branched off prior to the "hadrosaurine"–lambeosaurine split. As a result, Hadrosaurinae by definition cannot include the traditional "hadrosaurines". Saurolophinae is the oldest available name for the former "hadrosaurine" clade.[20] Saurolophus, as the name suggests, is a saurolophine, as it has a saurolophine pelvis and a (largely) solid crest.

The following cladogram of hadrosaurid relationships was published in 2013 by Alberto Prieto-Márquez et al. in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica:[21]


Acristravus gagstarsoni

Brachylophosaurus canadensis

Maiasaura peeblesorum

Shantungosaurus giganteus


Edmontosaurus regalis

Edmontosaurus annectens


Kerberosaurus manakini

Sabinas OTU

Prosaurolophus maximus

Saurolophus morrisi (now Augustynolophus)

Saurolophus osborni

Saurolophus angustirostris


Wulagasaurus dongi

Kritosaurus navajovius


Secernosaurus koerneri

Willinakaqe salitralensis


Gryposaurus latidens

Gryposaurus notabilis

Gryposaurus monumentensis


Saurolophus debivort
Saurolophus restoration

As a hadrosaurid, Saurolophus would have been a bipedal/quadrupedal herbivore, eating a variety of plants. Its skull permitted a grinding motion analogous to chewing, and its teeth were continually replacing and packed into dental batteries that contained hundreds of teeth, only a relative handful of which were in use at any time. Plant material would have been cropped by its broad beak, and held in the jaws by a cheek-like organ. Its feeding range would have extended from the ground to about 4 m (13 ft) above.[8]

Crest function

Crane de Saurolophus
Skull of S. osborni

The distinctive spike-like crest of Saurolophus has been interpreted in multiple ways, and could have had multiple functions. Brown compared it to the crest of a chameleon, and suggested it could provide an area for muscle attachment and a connection point for a nonbody back frill like that seen in the basilisk lizard. Peter Dodson interpreted similar features in other duckbills as having use in sexual identification.[22] Maryańska and Osmólska, noting the hollow base, suggested that the crest increased the surface area of the respiratory cavity, and helped in thermoregulation.[18] James Hopson supported a function as a visual signal, and further mentioned the possibility that the inflatable skin flaps over the nostrils could have acted as resonators and additional visual signals.[23] This idea has been picked up by authors of popular dinosaur works, such as David B. Norman, who discussed hadrosaurid display at length and included a life restoration of such an adaptation in action.[24]


The cranial ontogeny of Saurolophus angustirostris

Though the growth rates of Saurolophus are poorly understood, a group of perinatal Saurolophus was recently discovered in an area of the Gobi Desert known as "The Dragon's Tomb".[25] The animals uncovered had skull lengths less than five percent of the length of the skulls of the adults, indicating they were in the earliest developmental stage at the time of their deaths The discovery of Saurolophus neonates also indicates the distinct crest found in adults was poorly developed in infancy. It remains unknown if the animals were still within their eggs or if they had hatched before they died. The specimens were described in the journal PLOS One on October 14, 2015 by Leonard Dewaele et al.[26]


Tarbosaurus and Saurolophus by durbed
Restoration of Tarbosaurus pursuing S. angustirostris

S. osborni is known only from the upper part (unit 4) of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation. It lived alongside other dinosaur species including the ornithopods Hypacrosaurus altispinus and Parksosaurus warreni, ankylosaurid Anodontosaurus lambei, pachycephalosaurid Sphaerotholus edmontonense, ornithomimids Ornithomimus brevitertius and an unnamed species of Struthiomimus, small theropods including Atrociraptor marshalli and Albertonykus borealis, and the tyrannosauroid Albertosaurus sarcophagus.[27] The dinosaurs from this formation form part of the Edmontonian land vertebrate age.[28] The Horseshoe Canyon Formation is interpreted as having a significant marine influence, due to an encroaching Western Interior Seaway, the shallow sea that covered the midsection of North America through much of the Cretaceous.[28] S. osborni may have preferred to stay inland.[8] A 2001 study suggested that Saurolophus osborni was part of a distinct inland fauna characterized by an association between Anchiceratops ornatus and it, while the contemporary coastal fauna was characterized by the association of Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis and Edmontosaurus regalis.[29] However, the association between S. osborni and Anchiceratops was later noted to be in error, Anchiceratops only occurs lower in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation, before the major transgression of the Western Interior Seaway represented by the Drumheller Marine Tongue.[30]

S. angustirostris was one of the largest herbivores of the Nemegt Formation, which lacked large horned dinosaurs, but had sauropods and a more diverse theropod fauna. It coexisted with the rare hadrosaurid Barsboldia, flat-headed pachycephalosaurian Homalocephale and domed Prenocephale, the large ankylosaurid Saichania, rare saltasaurid sauropods Nemegtosaurus and Opisthocoelicaudia, the alvarezsaurid Mononykus, three types of troodontids including Zanabazar, several oviraptorosaurians including Rinchenia and Nomingia, the ostrich-mimics Gallimimus and Deinocheirus, therizinosaurid Therizinosaurus, tyrannosaurid relative Bagaraatan, and the tyrannosaurid Tarbosaurus.[27] Unlike other Mongolian formations like the well-known Djadochta Formation that includes Velociraptor and Protoceratops, the Nemegt is interpreted as being well-watered, like the Dinosaur Park Formation in Alberta.[28] When examined, the rock facies of the Nemegt formation suggest the presence of stream and river channels, mudflats, and shallow lakes. Sediments also indicate that a rich habitat existed, offering diverse food in abundant amounts that could sustain Cretaceous dinosaurs.[31]

S. angustirostris was common, and would have been an important large herbivore in the Nemegt Formation. By comparison, S. osborni was rare in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation, and faced competition from other duckbills (genus Hypacrosaurus). Comparisons between the scleral rings of Saurolophus and modern birds and reptiles suggest that it may have been cathemeral, active throughout the day at short intervals.[32]

See also


  1. ^ Arbour, V.M.; Burns, M. E.; Sissons, R. L. (2009). "A redescription of the ankylosaurid dinosaur Dyoplosaurus acutosquameus Parks, 1924 (Ornithischia: Ankylosauria) and a revision of the genus". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 29 (4): 1117–1135. doi:10.1671/039.029.0405.
  2. ^ Brown, Barnum (1912). "A crested dinosaur from the Edmonton Cretaceous". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 31 (14): 131–136. Retrieved 2007-04-29.
  3. ^ Brown, Barnum (1913). "The skeleton of Saurolophus, a crested duck-billed dinosaur from the Edmonton Cretaceous". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 32 (19): 387–393. Retrieved 2007-04-29.
  4. ^ a b Brown, Barnum (1914). "Corythosaurus casuarius, a new crested dinosaur from the Belly River Cretaceous, with provisional classification of the family Trachodontidae". Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 33 (55): 559–564. Retrieved 2007-04-29.
  5. ^ Riabinin, Anatoly Nikolaenvich, N. (1930). "On the age and fauna of the dinosaur beds on the Amur River". Mémoir, Société Mineral Russia (in Russian). 59: 41–51.
  6. ^ Rozhdestvensky, Anatoly K. (1952). Новый представитель утконосых динозавров из верхнемеловых отложений Монголии [A new representative of the duck-billed dinosaurs from the Upper Cretaceous deposits of Mongolia]. Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR (in Russian). 86 (2): 405–408.
  7. ^ a b Glut, Donald F. (1997). "Saurolophus". Dinosaurs: The Encyclopedia. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co. pp. 788–789. ISBN 0-89950-917-7.
  8. ^ a b c d Horner, John R.; Weishampel, David B.; Forster, Catherine A (2004). "Hadrosauridae". In Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; Osmólska, Halszka. The Dinosauria (2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 438–463. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.
  9. ^ Bell, Phil R. (2011). "Cranial osteology and ontogeny of Saurolophus angustirostris from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia with comments on Saurolophus osborni from Canada" (pdf). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 56: 703–722. doi:10.4202/app.2010.0061.
  10. ^ Bell, P.R. (2012). "Standardized Terminology and Potential Taxonomic Utility for Hadrosaurid Skin Impressions: A Case Study for Saurolophus from Canada and Mongolia". PLoS ONE. 7 (2): e31295. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031295. PMC 3272031. PMID 22319623.
  11. ^ a b Norman, David B.; Sues, Hans-Dieter (2000). "Ornithopods from Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Siberia". In Benton, Michael J.; Shishkin, Mikhail A.; Unwin, David M.; Kurochkin, Evgenii N. The Age of Dinosaurs in Russia and Mongolia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 462–479. ISBN 0-521-55476-4.
  12. ^ a b Albert Prieto-Márquez & Jonathan R. Wagner (2013). "A new species of saurolophine hadrosaurid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of the Pacific coast of North America". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 58 (2): 255–268. doi:10.4202/app.2011.0049.
  13. ^ a b c d Bell, P. R. (2011). "Cranial Osteology and Ontogeny of Saurolophus angustirostrisfrom the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia with Comments on Saurolophus osbornifrom Canada". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 56 (4): 703–722. doi:10.4202/app.2010.0061.
  14. ^ Bell, P.R.; Evans, D.C. (2010). "Revision of the status of Saurolophus (Hadrosauridae) from California, USA". Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. 47 (11): 1417–1426. doi:10.1139/E10-062.
  15. ^ Albert Prieto-Márquez, Jonathan R. Wagner, Phil R. Bell and Luis M. Chiappe, 2014, "The late-surviving ‘duck-billed’ dinosaur Augustynolophus from the upper Maastrichtian of western North America and crest evolution in Saurolophini", Geological Magazine doi:10.1017/S0016756814000284
  16. ^ Lull, Richard Swann; Wright, Nelda E. (1942). Hadrosaurian Dinosaurs of North America. Geological Society of America Special Paper 40. Geological Society of America. p. 226.
  17. ^ a b c Paul, Greg (2010). The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 335.
  18. ^ a b Maryańska, Teresa; Osmólska, Halszka (1981). "Cranial anatomy of Saurolophus angustirostris with comments on the Asian Hadrosauridae (Dinosauria)" (PDF). Palaeontologia Polonica. 42: 5–24.
  19. ^ Sternberg, Charles M. (1954). "Classification of American duckbilled dinosaurs". Journal of Paleontology. 28 (3): 382–383.
  20. ^ Prieto-Márquez, Alberto (2010). "Global phylogeny of Hadrosauridae (Dinosauria: Ornithopoda) using parsimony and Bayesian methods". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 159 (2): 435–502. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2009.00617.x.
  21. ^ Prieto-Márquez, A.; Wagner, J.R. (2013). "A new species of saurolophine hadrosaurid dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of the Pacific coast of North America". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 58 (2): 255–268. doi:10.4202/app.2011.0049.
  22. ^ Dodson, Peter (1975). "Taxonomic implications of relative growth in lambeosaurine dinosaurs". Systematic Zoology. 24 (1): 37–54. doi:10.2307/2412696. JSTOR 2412696.
  23. ^ Hopson, James A. (1975). "The evolution of cranial display structures in hadrosaurian dinosaurs". Paleobiology. 1 (1): 21–43.
  24. ^ Norman, David B. (1985). "Hadrosaurids II". The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs: An Original and Compelling Insight into Life in the Dinosaur Kingdom. New York: Crescent Books. pp. 122–127. ISBN 0-517-46890-5.
  25. ^ "Developing Saurolophus dino found at 'Dragon's Tomb'" (Press release). PLOS. October 14, 2015 – via Science Daily.
  26. ^ Dewaele, Leonard; Tsogtbaatar, Khishigjav; Barsbold, Rinchen; Garcia, Géraldine; Stein, Koen; Escuillie, François; Godefroit, Pascal (October 14, 2015). "Perinatal specimens of Saurolophus angustirostris (Dinosauria: Hadrosauridae), from the Upper Cretaceous of Mongolia". PLOS ONE. 10 (10): e0138806. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0138806.
  27. ^ a b Weishampel, David B.; Barrett, Paul M.; Coria, Rodolfo A.; Le Loueff, Jean; Xu Xing; Zhao Xijin; Sahni, Ashok; Gomani, Elizabeth M.P.; Noto, Christopher N. (2004). "Dinosaur distribution". In Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; Osmólska, Halszka. The Dinosauria (2nd ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 517–606. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.
  28. ^ a b c Dodson, Peter (1996). The Horned Dinosaurs: A Natural History. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 14–15. ISBN 0-691-05900-4.
  29. ^ Lehman, T. M., 2001, Late Cretaceous dinosaur provinciality: In: Mesozoic Vertebrate Life, edited by Tanke, D. H., and Carpenter, K., Indiana University Press, pp. 310-328.
  30. ^ Sullivan, R.M. and Lucas, S. G. (2006). "The Kirtlandian land-vertebrate "age"–faunal composition, temporal position and biostratigraphic correlation in the nonmarine Upper Cretaceous of western North America." Pp. 7-29 in Lucas, S. G. and Sullivan, R.M. (eds.), Late Cretaceous vertebrates from the Western Interior. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 35.
  31. ^ Novacek, M. (1996). Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs. Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc. New York, New York. ISBN 978-0-385-47775-8
  32. ^ Schmitz, L.; Motani, R. (2011). "Nocturnality in Dinosaurs Inferred from Scleral Ring and Orbit Morphology". Science. 332 (6030): 705–8. doi:10.1126/science.1200043. PMID 21493820.

External links


Adasaurus ( AH-də-SAWR-əs; "Ada's lizard") is a dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Period of Central Asia. It was a small bipedal carnivore with a sickle-shaped claw on the second toe of each hind foot, and was perhaps 1.8 m (5.9 ft) long. The genus name Adasaurus is taken from Ada, an evil spirit in the mythology of Mongolia, and the Greek word sauros meaning 'lizard'. The species name, for the single species, (A. mongoliensis), refers to the country of origin. Adasaurus was named and described in 1983 by Mongolian paleontologist Rinchen Barsbold.

Adasaurus is a member of Dromaeosauridae, a group that is closely related to living birds. Other dromaeosaurids include Deinonychus, Velociraptor, Microraptor, and Buitreraptor. The relationships of Adasaurus are poorly understood. Traditionally, Adasaurus is assigned to the Dromaeosaurinae, which includes heavily built animals such as Dromaeosaurus and Utahraptor but several recent studies have suggested that it may be a member of the Velociraptorinae instead.Two specimens of Adasaurus have been found, both from the Nemegt Formation in the Gobi Desert of southern Mongolia. The holotype, IGM 100/20, is an incomplete skeleton with partial skull, including the vertebral column except the back of the tail, all three bones of the pelvis, the shoulder girdle and the hindlimbs. The second specimen, the paratype IGM 100/51 also described in the original paper, consists of the back end of another skeleton, including the hindlimbs. Both specimens are currently in the collection of the Mongolian Geological Institute in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

The age of the Nemegt is not known for certain, but it is commonly thought to belong to the Maastrichtian stage of the Late Cretaceous Period., and Adasaurus would therefore have lived between 72 and 66 million years ago. Other dinosaurs found in this formation include the tyrannosaur Tarbosaurus, the ornithomimid Anserimimus, the troodontid Zanabazar, and the hadrosaur Saurolophus.


Augustynolophus is an extinct genus of herbivorous saurolophine hadrosaur dinosaur which was discovered in the Moreno Formation in California, dating to the late Maastrichtian age, making it one of the last dinosaurs known from the fossil record for the Cretaceous–Tertiary (K–T) extinction.


Barsboldia (meaning "of Barsbold", a well-known Mongolian paleontologist) was a genus of large hadrosaurid dinosaur from the early Maastrichtian Nemegt Formation of Ömnogöv', Mongolia. It is known from a partial vertebral column, partial pelvis, and some ribs.


Bonapartesaurus is an extinct genus of herbivorous ornithopod dinosaur belonging to Hadrosauridae, which lived in the area of the modern Argentina during the Campanian and Maastrichtian stages of the Late Cretaceous.


Brachylophosaurini is a tribe of saurolophine hadrosaurs with known material being from N. America and potentially Asia. It contains at least four taxa; Acristavus (from Montana and Utah), Brachylophosaurus (from Montana and Alberta), Maiasaura (also from Montana), and Probrachylophosaurus (also from Montana). A hadrosaur from the Amur river, Wulagasaurus, might be a member of this tribe, but this is disputed. The group was defined by Terry A. Gates and colleagues in 2011.The clade Brachylophosaurini was defined as "Hadrosaurine ornithopods more closely related to Brachylophosaurus, Maiasaura, or Acristavus than to Gryposaurus or Saurolophus".


Brachylophosaurus ( brə-KIL-ə-fo-SAWR-əs or brak-i-LOH-fə-SAWR-əs; meaning "short-crested lizard", Greek brachys = short + lophos = crest + sauros = lizard, referring to its small crest) was a mid-sized member of the hadrosaurid family of dinosaurs. It is known from several skeletons and bonebed material from the Judith River Formation of Montana and the Oldman Formation of Alberta, living about 78 million years ago.


Corythosaurus is a genus of hadrosaurid "duck-billed" dinosaur from the Upper Cretaceous Period, about 77–75.7 million years ago. It lived in what is now North America. Its name means "helmet lizard", derived from Greek κόρυς. It was named and described in 1914 by Barnum Brown. Corythosaurus is now thought to be a lambeosaurine, related to Nipponosaurus, Velafrons, Hypacrosaurus, and Olorotitan. Corythosaurus has an estimated length of 9 metres (30 ft), and has a skull, including the crest, that is 70.8 centimetres (27.9 in) tall.

Corythosaurus is known from many complete specimens, including the nearly complete holotype found by Brown in 1911. The holotype skeleton is only missing the last section of the tail, and part of the forelimbs, but was preserved with impressions of polygonal scales. Corythosaurus is known from many skulls with tall crests. The crests resemble the crests of the cassowary and a Corinthian helmet. The most likely function of the crest is thought to be vocalization. As in a trombone, sound waves would travel through many chambers in the crest, and then get amplified when Corythosaurus exhaled. A Corythosaurus specimen has been preserved with its last meal in its chest cavity. Inside the cavity were remains of conifer needles, seeds, twigs, and fruits: Corythosaurus probably fed on all of these.

The two species of Corythosaurus are both present in slightly different levels of the Dinosaur Park Formation. Both still co-existed with theropods and other ornithischians, like Daspletosaurus, Brachylophosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Scolosaurus, and Chasmosaurus.


Hadrosaurids (Greek: ἁδρός, hadrós, "stout, thick"), or duck-billed dinosaurs, are members of the ornithischian family Hadrosauridae. This group is known as the duck-billed dinosaurs for the flat duck-bill appearance of the bones in their snouts. The family, which includes ornithopods such as Edmontosaurus and Parasaurolophus, was a common group of herbivores during the Late Cretaceous Period in what is now Asia, Europe, Antarctica, South America, and North America. Hadrosaurids are descendants of the Upper Jurassic/Lower Cretaceous iguanodontian dinosaurs and had a similar body layout.

Like other ornithischians, hadrosaurids had a predentary bone and a pubic bone which was positioned backwards in the pelvis. Hadrosauridae is divided into two principal subfamilies: the lambeosaurines (Lambeosaurinae), which had hollow cranial crests or tubes; and the saurolophines (Saurolophinae), identified as hadrosaurines (Hadrosaurinae) in most pre-2010 works, which lacked hollow cranial crests (solid crests were present in some forms). Saurolophines tended to be bulkier than lambeosaurines. Lambeosaurines included the aralosaurins, tsintaosaurins, lambeosaurins and parasaurolophins, while saurolophines included the brachylophosaurins, kritosaurins, saurolophins and edmontosaurins.

Hadrosaurids were facultative bipeds, with the young of some species walking mostly on two legs and the adults walking mostly on four. Their jaws were evolved for grinding plants, with multiple rows of teeth replacing each other as the teeth wore down.

Horseshoe Canyon Formation

The Horseshoe Canyon Formation is a stratigraphic unit of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin in southwestern Alberta. It takes its name from Horseshoe Canyon, an area of badlands near Drumheller.

The Horseshoe Canyon Formation is part of the Edmonton Group and is up to 230 metres (750 ft) thick. It is of Late Cretaceous age, Campanian to early Maastrichtian stage (Edmontonian Land-Mammal Age), and is composed of mudstone, sandstone, carbonaceous shales, and coal seams. A variety of depositional environments are represented in the succession, including floodplains, estuarine channels, and coal swamps, which have yielded a diversity of fossil material. Tidally-influenced estuarine point bar deposits are easily recognizable as Inclined Heterolithic Stratification (IHS). Brackish-water trace fossil assemblages occur within these bar deposits and demonstrate periodic incursion of marine waters into the estuaries.

The Horseshoe Canyon Formation crops out extensively in the area around Drumheller, as well as farther north along the Red Deer River near Trochu and along the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton. It is overlain by the Battle, Whitemud, and Scollard formations. The Drumheller Coal Zone, located in the lower part of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation, was mined for sub-bituminous coal in the Drumheller area from 1911 to 1979, and the Atlas Coal Mine in Drumheller has been preserved as a National Historic Site. In more recent times, the Horseshoe Canyon Formation has become a major target for coalbed methane (CBM) production.

Dinosaurs found in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation include Albertavenator, Albertosaurus, Anchiceratops, Anodontosaurus, Arrhinoceratops, Atrociraptor, Epichirostenotes, Edmontonia, Edmontosaurus, Hypacrosaurus, Ornithomimus, Pachyrhinosaurus, Parksosaurus, Saurolophus, and Struthiomimus. Other finds have included mammals such as Didelphodon coyi, non-dinosaur reptiles, amphibians, fish, marine and terrestrial invertebrates and plant fossils. Reptiles such as turtles and crocodilians are rare in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation, and this was thought to reflect the relatively cool climate which prevailed at the time. A study by Quinney et al. (2013) however, showed that the decline in turtle diversity, which was previously attributed to climate, coincided instead with changes in soil drainage conditions, and was limited by aridity, landscape instability, and migratory barriers.


Kerberosaurus (meaning "Kerberos lizard") was a genus of saurolophine duckbill dinosaur from the late Maastrichtian-age Upper Cretaceous Tsagayan Formation of Blagoveshchensk, Amur Region, Russia (dated to 66 million years ago). It is based on bonebed material including skull remains indicating that it was related to Saurolophus and Prosaurolophus.


Lambeosaurinae is a group of crested hadrosaurid dinosaurs.


Maiasaura (from the Greek "μαία" and the feminine form of Latin saurus, meaning "good mother reptile" or "good mother lizard" ) is a large herbivorous hadrosaurid ("duck-billed") dinosaur genus that lived in the area currently covered by the state of Montana in the Upper Cretaceous Period (mid to late Campanian), about 76.7 million years ago.The first fossils of Maiasaura were discovered in 1978. The genus was named in 1979. The name refers to the find of nests with eggs, embryos and young animals, in a nesting colony. These showed that Maiasaura fed its young while they were in the nest, the first time such evidence was obtained for a dinosaur. Hundreds of bones of Maiasaura have been dug up.

Maiasaura was about 9 metres (30 ft) long. Young animals walked on their hind legs, adults on all fours. Maiasaura was probably closely related to Brachylophosaurus.

Nemegt Formation

The Nemegt Formation (or Nemegtskaya Svita) is a geological formation in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, dating to the Late Cretaceous. It overlies and sometimes interfingers with the Barun Goyot Formation. Interfingering has been noted at the stratotype (Red Walls) and Khermeen Tsav. It consists of river channel sediments and contains fossils of fish, turtles, crocodilians, and a diverse fauna of dinosaurs, including birds. The climate associated with it was wetter than when preceding formations were deposited; there seems to have existed at least some degree of forest cover. Fossilized trunks have been also found.

There has been no absolute dating of the Nemegt Formation. It is, however, almost certainly early Maastrichtian c 71-70 Ma. Gradzinski and others considered a Campanian age possible but more recent research indicates otherwise. A Campanian age no longer seems credible, because the Alagteegian (or lower Djadokhtan, at the locality "Chuluut Uul") has been radiometrically dated at about 73.5 Ma or even younger (a more recent K/Ar date is 71.6 +/- 1.6 Ma). The c 73.5 (or perhaps 72) Ma Alagteegian is separated from the Nemegt by the "classic" Djadokhtan (e.g. Bayan Dzag), later Djadohktan (represented by Ukhaa Tolgod) and Barungoyotian (Khulsan). All these intervening horizons almost certainly represent more than the 1.5 million years between the dated Alagteegian level and the onset of Maastrichtian time (72.1 million Ma according to current dating). Ergo the Nemegt is entirely Maastrichtian. See also Shuvalov, Sochava and Martinsson The Age of Dinosaurs in Russia and Mongolia. The presence of Saurolophus further supports an early Maastrichtian age as the same genus occurs in the early Maastrichtian Horseshoe Canyon formation.


Prosaurolophus (; meaning "before Saurolophus", in comparison to the later dinosaur with a similar head crest) is a genus of hadrosaurid (or duck-billed) dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of North America. It is known from the remains of at least 25 individuals belonging to two species, including skulls and skeletons, but it remains obscure. Around 9 m (30 ft), its fossils have been found in the late Campanian-age Upper Cretaceous Dinosaur Park Formation in Alberta, and the roughly contemporaneous Two Medicine Formation in Montana, dating to around 75.5-74.0 million years ago. Its most recognizable feature is a small solid crest formed by the nasal bones, sticking up in front of the eyes.

The type species is P. maximus, described by American paleontologist Barnum Brown of the American Museum of Natural History in 1916. A second species, P. blackfeetensis, was described by Jack Horner of the Museum of the Rockies in 1992. The two species were differentiated mainly by crest size and skull proportions.


Saurolophinae is a subfamily of hadrosaurid dinosaurs. It has since the mid-20th century generally been called the Hadrosaurinae, a group of largely non-crested hadrosaurs related to the crested sub-family Lambeosaurinae. However, the name Hadrosaurinae is based on the genus Hadrosaurus which was found in more recent studies to be more primitive than either lambeosaurines or other traditional "hadrosaurines", like Edmontosaurus and Saurolophus. As a result of this, the name Hadrosaurinae was dropped or restricted to Hadrosaurus alone, and the subfamily comprising the traditional "hadrosaurines" was renamed the Saurolophinae. Recent phylogenetic work by Hai Xing indicates that Hadrosaurus is placed within the monophyletic group containing all non-lambeosaurine hadrosaurids. Under this view, the traditional Hadrosaurinae is resurrected, with the Hadrosauridae being divided into two clades: Hadrosaurinae and Lambeosaurinae.

Saurolophinae was first defined as a clade in a 2010 phylogenetic analysis by Prieto-Márquez. Traditionally, the "crestless" branch of the family Hadrosauridae had been named Hadrosaurinae. However, the use of the term Hadrosaurinae was questioned in a comprehensive study of hadrosaurid relationships by Albert Prieto-Márquez in 2010. Prieto-Márquez noted that, though the name Hadrosaurinae had been used for the clade of mostly crestless hadrosaurids by nearly all previous studies, its type species, Hadrosaurus foulkii, has almost always been excluded from the clade that bears its name, in violation of the rules for naming animals set out by the ICZN. Prieto-Márquez (2010) defined Hadrosaurinae as only the lineage containing H. foulkii, and used the name Saurolophinae instead for the traditional grouping.The cladogram below follows Godefroit et al. (2012) analysis.

The following cladogram was recovered in the 2013 phylogenetic analysis by Prieto-Márquez (the relationships within Lambeosaurinae and between basal hadrosauroids aren't shown).


Saurolophini is a tribe of saurolophine hadrosaurid native to the Americas and Asia. It includes Saurolophus (from Canada and Mongolia), Augustynolophus (from the United States), and Prosaurolophus (from Alberta, Canada, and Montana, U.S.). Kerberosaurus and Kundurosaurus may also be members. Bonapartesaurus, a hadrosaurid from Argentina, also has been identified as a member of this tribe.Fossils of saurolophins have been found in Canada, the United States and Asia, with the North American fossils being older than the Asian, suggesting saurolophins migrated intra-continentally.


Tarbosaurus ( TAR-bə-SAWR-əs; meaning "alarming lizard") is a genus of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur that flourished in Asia about 70 million years ago, at the end of the Late Cretaceous Period. Fossils have been recovered in Mongolia, with more fragmentary remains found further afield in parts of China.

Although many species have been named, modern paleontologists recognize only one, T. bataar, as valid. Some experts see this species as an Asian representative of the North American genus Tyrannosaurus; this would make the genus Tarbosaurus redundant. Tarbosaurus and Tyrannosaurus, if not synonymous, are considered to be at least closely related genera. Alioramus, also from Mongolia, is thought by some authorities to be the closest relative of Tarbosaurus.

Like most known tyrannosaurids, Tarbosaurus was a large bipedal predator, weighing up to five tonnes and equipped with about sixty large teeth. It had a unique locking mechanism in its lower jaw and the smallest forelimbs relative to body size of all tyrannosaurids, renowned for their disproportionately tiny, two-fingered forelimbs.

Tarbosaurus lived in a humid floodplain criss-crossed by river channels. In this environment, it was an apex predator, probably preying on other large dinosaurs like the hadrosaur Saurolophus or the sauropod Nemegtosaurus. Tarbosaurus is represented by dozens of fossil specimens, including several complete skulls and skeletons. These remains have allowed scientific studies focusing on its phylogeny, skull mechanics, and brain structure.

Timeline of hadrosaur research

This timeline of hadrosaur research is a chronological listing of events in the history of paleontology focused on the hadrosauroids, a group of herbivorous ornithopod dinosaurs popularly known as the duck-billed dinosaurs. Scientific research on hadrosaurs began in the 1850s, when Joseph Leidy described the genera Thespesius and Trachodon based on scrappy fossils discovered in the western United States. Just two years later he published a description of the much better-preserved remains of an animal from New Jersey that he named Hadrosaurus.The early 20th century saw such a boom in hadrosaur discoveries and research that paleontologists' knowledge of these dinosaurs "increased by virtually an order of magnitude" according to a 2004 review by Horner, Weishampel, and Forster. This period is known as the great North American Dinosaur rush because of the research and excavation efforts of paleontologists like Brown, Gilmore, Lambe, Parks, and the Sternbergs. Major discoveries included the variety of cranial ornamentation among hadrosaurs as scientist came to characterize uncrested, solid crested, and hollow crested species. Notable new taxa included Saurolophus, Corythosaurus, Edmontosaurus, and Lambeosaurus. In 1942 Richard Swann Lull and Wright published what Horner, Weishampel, and Forster characterized as the "first important synthesis of hadrosaurid anatomy and phylogeny".More recent discoveries include gigantic hadrosaurs like Shantungosaurus giganteus from China. At 15 meters in length and nearly 16 metric tons in weight it is the largest known hadrosaur and is known from a nearly complete skeleton.Hadrosaur research has continued to remain active even into the new millennium. In 2000, Horner and others found that hatchling Maiasaura grew to adult body sizes at a rate more like a mammal's than a reptile. That same year, Case and others reported the discovery of hadrosaur bones in Vega Island, Antarctica. After decades of such dedicated research, hadrosaurs have become one of the best understood group of dinosaurs.

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story (book)

We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story is a 1987 children's book drawn and written by Hudson Talbott, and published by Crown. A Tyrannosaurus Rex named Rex is the main character and narrator. Other dinosaurs included in the book are a Stegosaurus, a Triceratops, a Saurolophus, a Pteranodon, an Apatosaurus, and a Deinonychus.

This book was later adapted into an animated film of the same name in 1993, produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblimation animation studio and distributed by Universal Pictures. A sequel book was later published, Going Hollywood! A Dinosaur's Dream and Your Pet Dinosaur: An Owner's Manual.

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