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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Today's Dinosaur News

Posted by on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM

A Pachycephalosaurus skeleton on display at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.
  • Keith Schengili-Roberts/ Creative Commons License
  • A Pachycephalosaurus skeleton on display at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.
Pachycephalosaurs are among my favorite dinosaurs, so I was delighted to hear a new study focuses on these "thick-headed lizards." I honestly didn't realize this was news but in all likelihood their crazy dome heads were used to head-butt one another like rams or bison.

I was under the impression that paleontologists were already reasonably confident on the issue, but a presentation at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's 72nd Annual Meeting revealed "some of the most direct evidence for this antagonistic behavior":

Peterson, a professor in the University of Wisconsin geology department, and his colleagues took CT scans of the skulls and compared the distribution of lesions to those on the skulls of birds, crocodilians, and mammals- particularly mammals with horns.

The investigations reveal that "larger domed pachycephalosaurs such as Pachycephalosaurus may have been head-butting like Dall sheep or head-shoving like bison, while smaller, high-domed taxa such as Stegoceras may have been flank-butting like mountain goats," Peterson said.

One time I had a dream I was riding a subway and some pachycephalosaurs were head-butting each other in the train car. (Most of my dreams with dinosaurs have them in urban environments.) Man I wish I was at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology's 72nd Annual Meeting...


Comments (5) RSS

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Theodore Gorath 1
I was flank-butting like a mountain goat just the other night.
Posted by Theodore Gorath on October 18, 2012 at 10:46 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 2
@1 - I flank-butted a mountain goat this morning.
Posted by MacCrocodile on October 18, 2012 at 10:58 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 3
I always thought they used their heads to balance dainty tea service sets.

Sadly, the t-rex destroyed all of them.
Posted by Will in Seattle on October 18, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
venomlash 4
However they may have butted, they certainly didn't lower their heads and charge at each other the way deer do. The vertebrae of the neck wouldn't allow such a posture, and the rounded domes would cause their heads to slide off each other. It was almost certainly near-stationary butting, either head-to-head or head-to-flank.
Will in Seattle, stop ruining the dinosaur threads.
Posted by venomlash on October 18, 2012 at 2:34 PM · Report this
I think it's wonderful that you dream about dinosaurs. Especially in an urban setting.
Posted by BallardBoy on October 18, 2012 at 11:21 PM · Report this

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