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Dinosaurs Named After their Heads II

Dinosaurs came in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but one of the most fascinating parts of their body was their head. It was here that we learned the size of their skull, the size of their brain, and other physical characteristics, such as horns, crests, and frills. In this article, you will encounter an assortment of dinosaurs whose head features played a role in their naming.

Homalocephale

The level, flat head of the Homalocephale played a role in the naming of this dinosaur, which lived during the late Cretaceous period (80 to 70 million years ago). With a thick skull, the head had bony knobs along the edges. Other characteristics of the creature include walking on two legs, eating a diet consisting of plants, and measuring about 5 feet long. A near-complete skeleton of the creature was found in 1901 in Mongolia. It wasn’t until 1974 when paleontologists Maryanska and Osmolska gave the dinosaur its name.

Microceratops

The small horns on the face of the Microceratops were features that went into the process of naming the small dinosaur that lived about 83 to 65 million years ago (during the late Cretaceous period). Measuring only 30 inches long, the dinosaur dined on a diet comprised of plant material. Fossils of the dinosaur were found in China. The Microceratops got its name in 1953.

Saurolophus

The crest on the head of the Saurolophus influenced dinosaur hunted B. Brown to give the creature its name in 1912. The “crested lizard” was a duck-bill dinosaur that possessed a long bony spike that extended from out of its forehead. The spike measured 5 inches and is believed to have been attached to a flap of skin that covered the nostrils. The Saurolophus may have used this feature to make noises. Other physical features of the dinosaur include three-hoofed toes, short arms, long pointy tail, and a toothless beak. Another interesting feature of the dinosaur was that it had a ring of bones around its eyes, which is called a sclerotic ring. The dinosaur was the first duckbill found to have this characteristic.

The Saurolophus lived during the late Cretaceous period (about 72 to 68 million years ago), which was towards the end of the Mesozoic Era. The extinction of the dinosaur died during the K-T extinction event.

The Saurolophus was a plant eater, who most likely ate conifer needles, twigs, seeds, and other plant material ”“using its tough beak to eat. While the beak did not contain teeth, there were still hundreds of cheek teeth waiting to grind up tough plant food. The Saurolophus could walk on two legs, but had the ability to move on all fours. Researchers believe that this was most likely so that it could eat low-lying plants. The majority of Saurolophus fossils have been uncovered in Mongolia, China and Alberta, Canada.