Sunday, March 17, 2013


Living in North America about 75 million years ago, Parasaurolophus had the typical lifestyle of the Hadrosaur Family. Roaming in huge herds of about 10,000 members, He browsed on tasty plants as He migrated across the flatlands from shorelines to higher grounds. A fast Dinosaur, Parasaurolophus could run on two or four legs as He needed to.
The rarest of the Duck-billed Dinosaurs, Parasaurolophus became well-known for his crest, which was the largest of the Hadrosaurs. This crest of Parasaurolophus was a huge pipeline structure that extended back from the back of the top of his head. Using this part of his nose, He would blow air through his crest and make a loud noise much like a fog-horn.
However, Parasaurolophus caused a lot of confusion with his head crest among early scientists. Because of its shape, paleontologists first believed that He used it as a snorkel, while He swam underwater. Other paleontologists thought that Parasaurolophus used his crest as a weapon in mating fights. Only when a team of paleontologists constructed a computer-model of his crest, did they discover that it sounded like a foghorn. Then modern scientists realized that Parasaurolophus used his crest to call his friends as well as to warn them of lurking predators.
In addition, his name “Parasaurolophus” causes confusion with the names of other Hadrosaurs. “Parasaurolophus” which means “Beside Saurolophus (Crested Lizard),” seems to denote a close relationship with that other Dinosaur. But Saurolophus (Crested Lizard) is not a close relative. Saurolophus does have a spike-like crest sticking out of the back of her skull, but her crest is solid. Meanwhile, similarly named Prosaurolophus, who had a small head crest, lived a few million years earlier than either of the two other Hadrosaurs.
            Parasaurolophus teaches you to get the full story before forming a theory or opinion. Collect all the facts and examine everything from all angles first. If you do not know something then say so. You can always find out more, and come to the surprising truth. Consider the silly theories about Parasaurolophus and his crest.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Named in honor of Lawrence Lambe, an early paleontologist, Lambeosaurus was the first Duck-billed Dinosaur (Hadrosaur) to be found in North America (in 1927). The largest-known Duck-billed Dinosaur, Lambeosaurus had a hatchet-shaped crest. (This crest was tall and flat, pointing forward with a prong jutting out in the back of the head.) Living about 83 million years ago in Eurasia and North America, He browsed on twigs and flowering plants.
            The crest of Lambeosaurus was the subject of mistaken ideas by early paleontologists. Since each crest of a Lambeosaurus differed by age and sex, paleontologists believed that each individual Lambeosaurus was a different species of Dinosaur. After much study, later scientists realized that all of these Dinosaurs were the same species at different ages. Young Lambeosaurus had a low crest with no backward prong. Adult Lambeosaurus had a taller and more elaborate crest. Meanwhile Male Lambeosaurus had a large crest to impress the mating Females.
            The hollow crest of Lambeosaurus was filled with nasal passages, since it was a part of his nose. He used his crest to make bellowing calls to his Friends. Living in huge herds, this plant eater had no defenses against a predatory Tyrannosaurus rex, and needed an effective alarm system. Therefore, a guard Lambeosaurus would “honk” with his crest to warn the others to quickly run away, from danger, on their hind legs.
            Be creative with your image teaches Lambeosaurus. He always stood out in his herd with his particular crest. Moreover in a large group, He always knew his friends by their crests, and by their particular hooting. As his crest changed as He matured, Lambeosaurus gloried in who He was becoming. Lambeosaurus embraced his growth, and continued to be Himself in his unique way.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


One of the most studied of the Dinosaurs, Maiasaura was discovered by accident. In 1978, John Horner, a well-known paleontologist, was given a group of small fossils by the Brandvolds, a family of amateur rock collectors. After examining the bones, he realized that these fossils were baby Dinosaurs. The place where the Brandvolds showed him they had found the fossils, Horner named “Egg Mountain” (which is located in Montana, U.S.A.). The Brandvolds and Horner had uncovered a site of hundreds of dinosaur eggs and nests. Furthermore, they discovered amongst the small bones larger ones of adult Dinosaurs. Using the female form, instead of the usual male one for dinosaur names, Horner called the adult Dinosaur, Maiasaura, which means “Good Mother Lizard.”
The huge colony site of “Egg Mountain” demonstrated how diligently Maiasaura cared for her young. She filled her spiral nests with her eggs, and then covered them with vegetation for incubation. Like a Mother Crocodile, Maiasaura guarded her nest from egg thieves, and from being stomped on by other Dinosaurs. Also, She fed her babies until they were about two years old. Maiasaura was a good mother who bonded with her young, and She probably experienced a rich family life.
            After extensively studying her life, paleontologists realized that many Dinosaurs had a family life much like Maiasaura’s, instead of simply abandoning their young. They also realized that Maiasaura proved that some Dinosaurs were warm-blood, since her young matured so quickly. Thus the discovery of Maiasaura changed many people’s ideas about Dinosaurs.
            Maiasaura asks us to understand that Dinosaurs could be good mothers. Living in a huge herd, Maiasaura helped her young to grow into adulthood. She fed them while they were small and helpless. Simply because She was a large plant eater does not mean that Maiasaura could not be a good nurturer as well. She wants us to expand our horizons, and move beyond accepted theories. This Hadrosaur, who lived 80 million years ago, has much more to teach modern people. In 1987, She became the first “Dinosaur in Space” on a mission to Spacelab 2 in 1987. Follow Maiasaura to new places, and make new discoveries.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


At the end of the Cretaceous Period (about 65 million years ago), the most common Dinosaurs were the plant-eating Hadrosaur Family, who lived throughout Eurasia and North America. Unlike many other Dinosaurs, the Hadrosaurs spent their entire evolutionary lives in one period – the Cretaceous (about 80 million years in duration). These Dinosaurs were in the Order of Ornithischians (Bird-hipped Dinosaurs), and had thick-bodies, stiff tails, and tough beaks. The Hadrosaur Family became well-known for their famous duck-bills, distinctive crests, and remarkable teeth.
            When naturalists first discovered the Hadrosaurs in the 1850s, they were fascinated by the duck-like mouths. Since these Dinosaurs had “duck bills”, the scientists reasoned that They lived like Ducks. However later discoveries proved that these first scientists were mistaken. The Hadrosaur Family were, in fact, land-dwelling Dinosaurs, who roamed in large herds across the flatlands.
            Today, scientists divide the Hadrosaur Family into three groups based on the characteristics of their crests and duck-bills. The first group is the transitional Dinosaurs from the Iguanodon Family to the “true” Hadrosaurs. The second group, the Hadrosaurinae (which includes Hadrosaurus and Maiasaura) has solid or small crests, and wider, more rounded snouts. The third group is the Lambeosaurines, who have hollow crests and shorter snouts. Of this group, Lambeosaurus and Parasaurolophus were known for their “big honking noses.”
            Living in vast herds, the Hadrosaur Family were considered the “Sheep” or “Cows” of the Cretaceous Period, since They browsed on low-lying plants such as berries, ferns, and small pine-trees.  What made the Hadrosaur Family a successful group of Dinosaurs were their teeth and jaws. Their teeth formed a dental battery, with hundreds of teeth, which acted like two rasps grinding against each other. Meanwhile, their upper jaws would swing outward and scrape their teeth against the lower jaw. In this manner, Hadrosaurs could turn their food into mush for easier digestion. (Mammals and Reptiles do not chew their food this way.)
            Enter the peaceful world of the Hadrosaur Family. Imagine a vast herd of Dinosaurs serenely browsing ferns on the flatlands of North America. As They slowly move across the land, various Dinosaurs hoot contentedly to each other. Meanwhile, several Hadrosaurs are on guard for a predatory Tyrannosaur rex. Feel safe and protected amongst these plant eaters. Join Them and be surrounded by the security and peace that Hadrosaurs offer.