Monday, 4 February 2013

K is for Kritosaurus

This week, we're back to dinosaurs from Alberta, with 'K is for Kritosaurus'. Kritosaurus was a hadrosaur (duck-billed) dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous (about 73 million years ago) of North America, including southern Alberta, New Mexico, and Texas. It is recognised by a crest in front of its eyes, but the exact form of this crest is unknown. It was similar to other hadrosaurs in size, at about 8 m long, walked on two or four legs, and like all hadrosaurs, it was a herbivore. It used its large battery of flat teeth to grind down tough plant material. The teeth were constantly replaced, unlike mammals which have only two sets of teeth. Unfortunately, its known from very partial remains, which has made its taxonomic affinities debatable. In the past, Kritosaurus has been synonymised with Gryposaurus and Hadrosaurus, but is currently considered to be a valid genus. 
Kritosaurus by Nobu Tamura
Kritosaurus was first discovered in the US, in a formation alongside other dinosaurs like the hadrosaur Parasaurolophus, the ceratopsian Pentaceratops, and theropod Saurornitholestes. The nasal crest may have been used for social displays. 

Kritosaurus is actually the only dinosaur that starts with 'K'  from Alberta. Next week, we'll talk about another hadrosaur (I know, there's a lot of hadrosaurs from Alberta!) with a neat crest.

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