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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 14:04 EDT

Brachylophosaurus

Brachylophosaurus or “short-crested lizard” is a genus of dinosaur that was found in the Oldman Formation of Alberta, Canada in 1936. It was first described by Charles M. Sternberg in 1953. It remained the only described specimen until 1988, when Jack Horner described the specimen B. goodwini that was discovered in the Judith River Formation in Montana. A find by Nate Murphy in 1994 was a complete and uncrushed skeleton which he nicknamed “Elvis”, and then he discovered another specimen in 2000, which he named “Leonardo”. The 2000 find is considered to be the most spectacular finds ever, due to its partially mummified remains. It was placed in The Guinness Book of World Records. The latest find came in 2008 by Steven Cowan, which was discovered near the “Leonardo” find and was named “Marco”.

Brachylophosaurus is notable for a flat, paddle-like, bony crest that appears over the top of its skull. Some individuals had crests that covered the entire roof of the skull, while others had shorter and narrower crests. It is thought that the crests were used in pushing or shoving contests, but others feel it was not strong enough to support that habit. Other features include long forelimbs and a wider upper jaw than in most hadrosaurs. It had cheek-like features on its jaw to help keep food in its mouth. It also had hundreds of teeth used for efficient chewing, a feature rare among most reptiles, but common among ornithischian dinosaurs. An adult Brachylophosaurus reached 30 feet in length.

In 2003, evidence of tumors were discovered in fossilized remains of Brachylophosaurus skeletons. More than 10,000 other fossils were examined and only other hadrosaurs which included Edmontosaurus, Gilmoreosaurus, and Bactrosaurus tested positive for the cancerous tumors. It is not clear why these tumors exist, but it is thought to be either due to either environmental or genetic reasons.

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Brachylophosaurus