February 16, 2005 | David F. Coppedge

Jurassic Park Revision #76: Bonehead Dinosaurs Not Head-Butters

Pachycephalosaurs, or bone-heads, were dome-headed dinosaurs with skulls nine inches thick.  Interpretation: they rammed each other like rams, or head-butted jeeps filled with hapless human tourists in the movies.  Wrong, reports National Geographic in the March 2005 issue: research by Jack Horner and Mark Goodwin has shown that the thick skulls, surprisingly, could not have survived hard impacts.  Moreover, the fossils show no signs of head-butting damage.  Since the skull didn’t make a very good crash helmet, maybe the boneheads used it for love.

“It may have helped in species recognition or for attracting a mate, the paleontologists speculate.”  Whatever works is cute by definition.  Speculation is fun.  It’s especially fun when it overturns the previous speculation.

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Categories: Dinosaurs

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