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Saurolophus was a duck-billed dinosaur that had a 5 inch (13 cm) long bony spike extending up from its forehead. There is speculation that this spike was attached to a flap of skin that covered the nostrils and could be blown up for displays and noise-making. Saurolophus was about 30-40 feet (9-12 m) long, had a long, pointy tail, short arms, three-hoofed toes and, a flat, sloping head with a toothless beak, cheek pouches, and hundreds of closely-packed cheek teeth that ground up its food. The top bill of its beak curled slightly upwards.
Saurolophus also had a sclerotic ring, a ring of bones around its eyes - it was the first duckbill found with one.
It was a biped that could also walk on four legs, perhaps to graze low-lying plants.
WHEN SAUROLOPHUS LIVED
Saurolophus lived during the late Cretaceous period, about 72 to 68 million years ago, toward the end of the Mesozoic Era. It went extinct during the huge K-T mass extinction.
Saurolophus was an ornithopod, whose intelligence (as measured by its relative brain to body weight, or EQ) was midway among the dinosaurs.
DISCOVERY OF FOSSILS
Many Saurolophus fossils have been found, including one with fossilized skin impressions, in Alberta, Canada and Mongolia, China. Saurolophus was named by dinosaur hunter B. Brown in 1912.
(and Other Prehistoric Creatures)
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