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New Dinosaur Resembled a Horned Lizard – On an Immense Scale

Horned Lizards (Phrynosoma spp., please see photo) and odd Australia’s Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) have always reminded me of dinosaurs – I think it was their horn-bearing skulls.  I recall sketching my pet Horned Lizards and taking the (somewhat primitive!) drawings to the American Museum of Natural History for comparisons with the Triceratops skeletons displayed there.  This month (September, 2010), fans of such reptiles and dinosaurs were pleased to learn of the discovery of 2 new dinosaur species, one of which bore 15 horns upon its head – more than any other animal, past or present.

North America’s Lost Continent

The new species were uncovered in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, southern Utah, USA.  The area lies in what was once the “lost continent” of Laramidia, formed when an ancient sea separated the eastern and western portions of North America for millions of years.  The enforced isolation gave rise to innumerable bizarre insects, fishes, amphibians, dinosaurs and other creatures, many of which, it appears, have yet to be discovered. Read More »

Newly Discovered Texas Dinosaur Likely Engaged in Head-Butting Contests

PachycephalosaurusLike many fellow reptile and amphibian enthusiasts, I’m very interested in dinosaurs.  Happily, there have been many exciting new discoveries as of late…a beast recently christened Texacephale langstoni is a good case in point.

A New Hard-Headed Dinosaur

Years ago, most folks interested in dinosaurs were limited to gawking at fossils in museums. To be sure, these were fantastic, but modern study methods are now providing a glimpse at how these amazing creatures actually behaved.

Writing in the April, 2010 issue of Cretaceous Research, Yale University paleontologists theorize that a newly described Texas native probably rammed skulls with others of its kind, perhaps to establish dominance or mating rights.

The unique creature, related to the Pachycephalosaurs (please see drawing) but classified within its own genus, sported a rock-hard mass of bone atop its head.  This unusual growth, about the size of a softball, is similar to those found on only a dozen other dinosaur species.

More to Follow…

T. langstoni, which roamed the American Southwest 70-80 million years ago, was relatively small as dinosaurs go, weighing perhaps 40-50 pounds – I wonder if its “helmet” might have found use as a weapon of self-defense as well?

Hopefully we’ll learn more soon…until then, keep reading and please write in with any interesting stories you might come by.



Further Reading

Some amazing ancient reptiles inhabited the USA as well – please see my articles on giant, dinosaur–eating snakes and crocodiles.

You can learn more about the new head-ramming dinosaur on the Yale University website.
Pachycephalosaurus image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Keith Schengili-Roberts

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