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Cryolophosaurus

Updated on July 11, 2012

Cryolophosaurus, which means "frozen crest lizard" was a medium sized theropod dinosaur discovered on Mount Kirkpatrick in the Beardmore Glacier region of the Transantarctic Mountains, by William R. Hammer, a professor at Augustana College, and his team in 1991. Hammer and his team discovered a partial skeleton including a crushed skull, a jaw bone (mandible), parts of the backbone (30 vertebrae), hip bones (the ilium, ischium, and pubis), leg bones (femur and fibula), an ankle bone (tibiotarsus) and foot bones (metatarsals). The rocks Cryolophosaurus were discovered in date back to the Pliensbachian stage of the early Jurassic. Cryolophosaurus was the first large predatory dinosaur to be discovered in the arctic region and shed a whole new light on the way we look at dinosaurs. The most striking feature about this dinosaur was it's unique head crest, which looks like a Spanish comb. Due to the resemblance to Elvis Presley's pompadour haircut in the 1950s, the dinosaur was nicknamed "Elvisaurus."

Crest and appearance

Cryolophosaurus was measured 6 to 8 meters (20 to 26 feet) long, and may have weighed 1-2 tons. It had a high, narrow skull which measures 65 centimeters (25 inches) in length. The unique nasal crest runs just above the eyes, where it rises up, horizontal to the skull, and fans out. It is wrinkled, giving it a comb-like appearance. The crest is actually an extension of the skull bones which lie fixed on both sides to horns going up from the eye sockets. The crest was too fragile to be used a weapon but instead more likely designed for species identification and for sexual display among males.

Dinosaur Revolution - Cryolophosaurus VS Cryolophosaurus

Paleoecology

The remains of Cryolophosaurus were found in the Hanson formation alongside fossils of a variety of species including the prosauropod Glacialisaurus, a small pterosaur, a mammal-like reptile (a tritylodont, which is a species of synapsid about the size of a rat), and another unidentified theropod. There were also petrified wood from fossilized tree trunks a few meters away. This supports the hypothesis that Antarctica was much warmer and closer to the equator in the early Jurassic and supported a diverse range of fauna and mega fauna.

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