What Is a Cryolophosaurus?


Quick Answer

The Cryolophosaurus was a theropod dinosaur with a decorative, bony crest on its head running from side to side. Although little is known about this dinosaur, it is possible that the crest served to attract mates and send signals.

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The Cryolophosaurus was first excavated in 1991 from Mount Kirkpatrick in Antarctica. The professor who made the discovery, William Hammer, named it Cryolophosaurus, which means "cold crest lizard" in Greek. It lived during the early Jurassic period, nearly 200 million years ago. It was one of the first carnosaurs, a bipedal, meat-eating dinosaur with smaller forelimbs, of which the Tyrannosaurus is a prime example. It roamed the plains of Antarctica, which was near the equator at the time and boasted a temperate climate.

Scientist believe that this dinosaur was a carnivorous scavenger because of its fossilized remains. Ribs from another dinosaur were found in its mouth, leading researchers to surmise that it choked and died while feeding. Its most distinguishing characteristic, the head crest, extends from the bone of one eye socket to the other across the top of its head. This crest gave the dinosaur the nickname "Elvisaurus," after the crest worn by Elvis Presley, before it received its formal name.

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