Little-known fact: Some dinosaurs wore hats.* And one group of duck-billed dinosaur had the best hats of all.
This hat (henceforth, we’ll call it a crest, for scientific accuracy) was not just any fancy accoutrement. Not at all. This crest contained the dinosaur’s nasal passages. That’s right; the dinosaurs breathed through a hollow crest on their head.
These crests form the basis of communication.
By Terry “Bucky” Gates, a paleontologist and evolutionary biologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and NC State University. He spends his time researching a wide variety of topics but one of his favorites is the crazy crests and spikes on dinosaurs and other animals. Follow him on Twitter, @terryagates, LinkedIn, and his series of Cretaceous Cold Case blogs.
Illustrated by Talcott Starr (@talcotts), a writer and cartoonist who spends most of his time doodling silly dinosaurs. He usually posts these to Twitter and http://talcottstarr.com.
Check our facts!
Evans, D. C. 2007: Ontogeny and evolution of lambeosaurine dinosaurs (Ornithischia: Hadrosauridae).University of Toronta, Toronto, Ontario, 497pp.
Gates, T. A., A. Prieto-Márquez, and L. E. Zanno. 2012: Mountain building triggered Late Cretaceous North American megaherbivore dinosaur radiation. PloS one 7:e42135.
Horner, J. R., D. B. Weishampel, and C. Forster. 2004: Hadrosauridae. Pp.438–463 in D. B. Weishampel, P. Dodson, and H. Osmólska, eds. The Dinosauria. University of California Press, Berkeley.
Weishampel, D. B. 1997: Dinosaur cacophony. Bioscience 47:150–159.