A spectacularly preserved partial skull, associated with the rare dinosaur species Parasorrholofus sertocristatus, was found and analyzed for the first time in 97 years.
Detailed skulls in a new study in the Pearj Journal show the intact structure of the animal’s signature tube-shaped nasal passage, giving new clues to the evolution of the peculiar crest, a topic of discussion among paleontologists for decades.
“My jaw dropped when I first saw the remains,” Terry Gates, a paleontologist at North Carolina State University and lead author of the paper, said in a statement Monday. “I’ve been waiting almost 20 years to see a sample of this quality.”
The tube-like crest had an internal network of airways for breathing, but could also be used for communication.
David Evans, vice president of natural history at the Royal Years Ontario Museum, said that over the past 100 years, ideas for the purpose of exaggerated tube crests have ranged from sn snuckles to super sniffers. “But after decades of study, we now think that these arrests are primarily used to communicate in their genre as sounders and visual displays.”
The partial dinosaur skull was found by Smithsonian ecology colleague Erin Spear in 2017 when Spear discovered northwestern New Mexico as part of a paleonologist at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science team.
Three species of currently recognized parsurolophus have been found in rocks all the way from Alberta, Canada to New Mexico, ranging from 77 to 77.5.5. million to millions of years.
A new study has found for the first time that the tube crested dinosaur species found in South America is a way to connect with the northern species found in Alberta, Canada. The skull specimen shows that the dinosaur’s crest was formed in the same way as the other, related duck-bill dinosaur capture.
“This specimen is a wonderful example of amazing creatures evolving from a single ancestor,” said Joe Certich, curator of dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and leader of the team that discovered the skull.
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