Following the global discovery of the dinosaur butthole earlier this month, Jakob Vinther from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences highlighted the need for “lucky” fossil research to reveal new insights into the lives of dinosaurs. Unfortunately, they can take hundreds of years to discover, but fortunately, for dinosaur fans everywhere, such a journal is describe in a new study published in the journal PeerJ. The last time someone found the fossil skull of a rare species of dinosaur Parasaurolophus was 97 years ago. While not a common search, they are easy enough to detect thanks to the large empty tubes above their heads. This structure caused some confusion to palaeontologists who had so far been very reluctant to work from quality samples but this new discovery so well preserved that they finally got a chance to look good.
A specimen of Parasaurolophus cyrtocristatus recovered in New Mexico and believed to be about 75 million years old. At this time, the event of slapping in the middle of the late Cretaceous in North America divided by the shallow sea. Duckbills and horns, as well as dinosaurs, roamed the land in unique head-sized lands with early tyrannosaurs. Parasaurolophus had a bizarre, horny nasal passage for which science coined the term “tube crest”. Despite nothing like its poultry contemporaries, this new specimen reveals that they actually grew in the same way.
Terry Gates, a paleontologist from North Carolina State University said in a statement, “Imagine that your nose is rising above your face, three feet behind your head, then put over your eyes.” “Parasaurolophus breathed through an eight-foot pipe before reaching the head of oxygen.”
The exact purpose of the seemingly irrational nasal cavity has been the subject of controversy since scientists began to recover another specimen of Parasaurolophus. Some suggestions include whether it acted like a kind of snorkel or whether these dinosaurs were super sniffers, but with the help of these new fossils for researchers to work on, it now appears that these crests primarily used to communicate between sound breeders’ own species. The partial skull discovered in 2017 while exploring the worst regions of northwestern Mexico. Only a small part of the skull was visible, so the researchers were surprised when they found the intact crest while carefully trimming the skull from the shelf.
Joe Sertich, curator of dinosaurs at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science said, “The preservation of this new skull is spectacular, finally revealing in detail the bones that make up the crest of this amazing dinosaur known to almost every dinosaur-infected child.”