Friday, September 04, 2015

DILOPHOSAURUS: Keep Asking Questions

Arthur Weasley, via Wikimedia Commons

A relative of Ceratosaurus, Dilophosaurus was a primitive meat-eating Dinosaur from the Early Jurassic (about 200 million years ago). Discovered in the 1940s and later named in 1970 by Dr. Samuel Welles, Dilophosaurus became famous in the movie “Jurassic Park” (1993, Steven Spielberg). What made Her well-known was her two semi-circular crests on her head, which lead to her name “double-crested lizard.”

When She was discovered, Dilophosaurus was one of three fossil specimens. Since these were some of the most complete fossils of anyone in Her Family, much was learned about Her and Her Family, the Ceratosaurs. Despite this wealth of information, no one really knows why Dilophosaurus had a crest or what it was used for.

Who was Dilophosaurus? This speedy bi-pedal hunter was the consummate predator. With her four-fingered hand, opposable first finger and powerful claws, Dilophosaurus could grab her victim, pin him down, bite his neck and then pluck off his flesh. With her hollow bones and slender build, She was one of the fastest and deadliest Dinosaurs of her day.

The story of Dilophosaurus is one of exploration and further study. When She was first found, no one knew who she was. In 1954, She was first called Megalosaurus (who was one of the early Theropods). However, unsatisfied to what her identity was, Dr. Welles kept studying Her. By 1964, he knew that Dilophosaurus was someone else. Finally, in 1970, Dr. Welles renamed Her after her true nature.

Dilophosaurus invites curiosity and exploration. For one thing, there is no evidence that She spit poison as depicted in “Jurassic Park.” More questions await Her. Perhaps someone will figure out what her crests are for. Never be satisfied with the status quo, always be curious. Keep asking questions is what Dilophosaurus teaches.

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