Pachycephalosaurus is one of the unusual dinosaurs found in the fossil deposits of North America. They came under the genus of enormous dinosaurs that existed around the Late Cretaceous Epoch era about 100 million to 65.5 million years ago. Pachycephalosaurus are known to have a helmet head that saves them from any injury. They were usually 5 meters long with strong hind limbs. Further, scientists used to speculate that Pachycephalosaurus fossils have partially developed forelimbs.
Pachycephalosaurus are known for their highly distinctive features like dome skulls made up of thick solid bone covering the tiny brain. However, the bone growth covered the temporal openings. The bony knob-like structure at the front and the sides of the skull contributes more to their unusual appearances. Pachycephalosaurus are generally called dome-headed or bone-headed dinosaurs. Further, these dinosaurs are also found in Mongolia with a variety of skull shapes. However, the late forms had coarse domes shaped like a large sagittal crest with spikes or kneecaps and knobs pointing down and back sides of the skull.
Quick Facts About Pachycephalosaurus
- The term 'Pachycephalosaurus' was derived from the Greek term 'Pachys' means thick, and 'kephale' means 'head.' Therefore, Pachycephalosaurus is considered a thick head dinosaur.
- The dome head bone of the Pachycephalosaurus is thick enough to be used as a shield to combat predators.
- These creatures used to be 4.5 meters long and weigh upto 350-450 kilograms.
- Further, Pachycephalosaurus fossils have bony spikes on the dome-shaped head that was blunter shaped than sharp or pointed.
The Anatomy of Pachycephalosaurus
The anatomy of Pachycephalosaurus fossils has yet to be perfectly known. However, these animals are famous for the bony dome skull at the top, which ranges up to 10 inches (25 cm) thick that safeguards the brain. The rear aspect of the dome was edged with short bony spikes displayed upwards from the snout. The spikes were usually more blunt than sharp. The skull possessed large eye sockets that faced forward with a rounded shape, ample enough to give binocular vision.
Pachycephalosaurus used to have a small muzzle with a pointed beak. They used to have tiny shaped teeth with leaf-shaped crowns. Besides that, the younger Pachycephalosaurus used to have flatter skulls with horns displaying from the back of the skull. Moreover, you will find their horns shrunken and rounded out once they become adults. Once you look to buy Pachycephalosaurus fossils online, you will notice these creatures used to be bipedal, with the largest dome-head.
Scientists have further estimated that Pachycephalosaurus used to be around 4.5 meters long and used to weigh about 350-450 kilograms. They used to be pretty short with bulky bodies. Moreover, they had thick necks, short forelimbs, long hind legs, and heavy tails. Further, the tail was held rigid by ossified tendons.
Evolutionary History Of Pachycephalosaurus
The first evidence of Pachycephalosaurus fossils was recorded in 1859 by the renowned paleontologists Donald Baird. However, Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden collected many bone fragments of the dinosaur around the banks of the Missouri River. Nevertheless, the actual nature of the Pachycephalosaurus was undiscovered until Baird did a study on the bony knobs of the dinosaur. Othniel Charles Marsh studied the teeth structure and skull fragments of the Pachycephalosaurus.
Further, Erich Maren Schlaikjer and Barnum Brown established the genus of Pachycephalosaurus for the first time. They divided the dinosaur into two categories, namely Pachycephalosaurus Reinheimer. P. grangeri and Pachycephalosaurus grangeri.
Behavior And Diet Of Pachycephalosaurus
These dinosaurs are speculated to be herding and social animals that live mainly in small groups. They used the head bone as the primary way of self-defense. Further, they used heads for ramming the predators or enemies in closed combat. However, the scientist also speculated domes to attract their mates.
There is no concrete evidence yet to be found about the eating behavior of the Pachycephalosaurus. Paleontologists that study the Pachycephalosaurus fossils speculated diets either have to be herbivores or omnivores. Further, there were not enough studies to prove that Pachycephalosaurus was a meat eater. According to teeth structure, it has been predicted that dinosaurs used to eat fruits, seeds, and soft plants.
Paleoecology Of The Pachycephalosaurus
Scientists have speculated that Pachycephalosaurus fossils have been recovered from the Hell Creek Formation and the Lance Formation of the western United States. These species are assumed to have coexisted with additional Pachycephalosaurus species of the genera Sphaerotholus. They used to live with Tyrannosaurus, Edmontonia, and other ceratopsians in the sub-tropical or river basin region.
The Extinction Event Of The Pachycephalosaurus
Pachycephalosaurus lived around 77 million and 65 million years ago. They used to share the ecosystem with all the dinosaurs in the Late Cretaceous Period. Further, Pachycephalosaurus fossils projected that they died out in the mass extinction of the Mesozoic era. They were wiped out in the Chicxulub crater with all other megafauna and dwelling dinosaurs of that time.
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