Hypacrosaurus is a dinosaur belonging to the Hadrosauridae clade that existed almost 67 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous. The Hypocosaurus name meaning is related to its size, as it translates to 'near the highest lizard'. It was named so due to being almost the same length as the Tyrannosaurus.
The remains of the dinosaur Hypacrosaurus were discovered from Alberta and Montana. The type specimen was found in Alberta in 1910 by Barnum Brown and subsequently named in 1913. The discovery of bones belonging to dinosaurs of this genus, in addition to eggs, hatchlings, and juveniles, have all furthered the science of hadrosaurs.
There are two species of Hypacrosaurus, with Hypacrosaurus altispinus being the type species. These dinosaurs were known for having a large hollow crest in the shape of a helmet, along with long neural spines. In fact, it had some of the largest spines in comparison to similar hadrosaurs. The hollow crest allowed this animal to produce resonating sounds in order to communicate. Its jaws had nearly 40 rows of teeth used for eating plants. Several other aspects, including the social behavior of this dinosaur, have also been estimated due to the vast fossil remains that were found.
The name 'Hypacrosaurus', given in 1913, is pronounced as 'hi-PACK-roe-SORE-us'.
Hypacrosaurus is a kind of hadrosaurid dinosaur whose remains were found in North America. This dinosaur is similar to the Corythosaurus dinosaur, which is also a hadrosaurid discovered by Barnum Brown. In a Hypacrosaurus vs. Corythosaurus evaluation, the former is slightly bigger than the latter.
Hypacrosaurus existed during the Late Cretaceous Period, 67-75 million years ago. This period of time corresponded to the Campanian and Early Maastrichtian ages.
Since the discovered remains of Hypacrosaurus all belong to the Late Cretaceous only, it can be safely assumed that these dinosaurs became extinct during that time.
The two species of Hypacrosaurus had different ranges, based on the discovery of their fossils. The type species, Hypacrosaurus altispinus range, covered the Horseshoe Canyon Formation in Alberta, Canada. On the other hand, H. stebingeri lived in the Two Medicine Formation of Montana in the USA. Overall, these dinosaurs were native to present-day North America.
The Hypacrosaurus habitat was quite diverse. The type species of Alberta lived at low elevation near the Western Interior Seaway, which had a wet climate. On the other hand, H. stebingeri occupied higher elevations with a more terrestrial and dry climate.
Hypacrosaurus was probably a herding dinosaur that lived in groups or herds. In fact, scientists have estimated that these dinosaurs could've lived in groups with 100 or more members.
Research has shown that Hypacrosaurus reached their adult size by the time they were 12 years old. Unfortunately, it has not been estimated how long they lived after that. So, their life span remains a mystery.
Hypacrosaurus reproduced by laying eggs, just like other dinosaurs. The Hypacrosaurus eggs were spherical and 7.9 in (20 cm) in length. These eggs were laid in nests, with each nest being covered with sand and grass. The embryo of this dinosaur measured 23.6 in (60 cm), whereas the hatchlings were 5.6 ft (170 cm).
Fortunately, due to the discovery of a wide range of fossil remains, researchers in the science of palaeontology have been able to establish what this dinosaur looked like. Needless to say, the appearance of the Hypacrosaurus dinosaur is what makes it stand out.
The Hypacrosaurus skeletal features suggest that this dinosaur was quite large in size. The most distinguishing feature in this species was the presence of an elaborate bony and hollow crest present on the top of the head. The crest was elongated at the top and flat at the side. The nostrils of this dinosaur went upwards through this elaborate crest. To add to this, this dinosaur also had significantly tall neural spines that ran along its back. Each of these spines was five to seven times larger than the vertebral bone they were attached to. Hence, the tall appearance of this species was mostly due to these high neural spines. Some of the proposed functions of these spines include storage of fat and providing aid while swimming.
Features of the Hypacrosaurus skull included the presence of 40 rows of teeth. Being a hadrosaur, this dinosaur had the typical duck-billed shape representing its skull.
The Hypacrosaurus body did not have any other remarkable features as such. However, its pelvic bones did indicate some unique characteristics.
A complete Hypacrosaurus skeleton is yet to be discovered. However, to date, plenty of bones have been found, belonging to not just the adult but juvenile dinosaurs, as well. Apart from parts of the vertebrae, complete skulls have also been unearthed, furthering the field of science. Additionally, researchers have also extracted Hypacrosaurus DNA from its remains. The Hypacrosaurus growth rate has been established using its skeletal remains.
Out of all the aspects related to the members of the Hypacrosaurus genus, perhaps the methods of communication this dinosaur used have been one of the most well-studied ones. It has been hypothesized that the hollow chamber of the crest aided in the resonating calls that this dinosaur produced. The Hypacrosaurus sounds may have been similar to that of a trumpet. Additionally, it is possible that this dinosaur communicated through visual displays by using its crest.
Being a large species, this hadrosaur had quite an impressive size. In fact, the Hypacrosaurus size was the reason for its name, the meaning being, 'near the highest lizard'. Wondering why this species was named so? Well, the length of this dinosaur was 30 ft (9.1 m), which made it nearly as large as the Tyrannosaurus, considered to be one of the 'highest' dinosaurs of the time. Tyrannosaurus had a length of 40 ft (12.2 m).
Hypacrosaurus was capable of walking on both two and four legs. However, scientists have estimated that this dinosaur had greater speed when on its two limbs. Hence, it has been assumed that while on all fours, Hypacrosaurus walked at a leisurely rate. However, once on two limbs, it could run at a speed of 12 mph (19.3 kph).
The Hypacrosaurus weight was 4.4 ton (4000 kg), making it slightly lighter than Tyrannosaurus, one of the largest dinosaurs. The latter had a weight between 5.5-7.7 ton (5000-7000 kg).
The male and female dinosaurs of both H. altispinus and H. stebingeri have no separate names.
A Hypacrosaurus baby would be known as a hatchling since these dinosaurs come out of eggs.
Having a herbivorous diet, Hypacrosaurus was a plant-eating dinosaur. Hence, it relied on a variety of plant materials, including seeds, twigs, fruits, and pine needles, to sustain its diet.
Since these dinosaurs had a herbivorous diet, it is probable that they were not aggressive in nature. Additionally, their large size may have provided them with enough protection against predators. However, Hypacrosaurus dinosaurs were indeed preyed upon by theropod dinosaurs of larger size.
The studies related to the bone of Hypacrosaurus have indicated that this dinosaur was most likely endothermic, meaning this animal used its own body to generate heat.
A Hypacrosaurus model is present at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Canada.
Hypacrosaurus is actually a hadrosaurid dinosaur belonging to the family of Hadrosauridae. It has been further classified into the family Lambeosaurinae, as it has a hollow crest on its head, and the tribe of Lambeosaurini, due to having high neural spines and a helmet-like crest.
Just like any other hadrosaurid, Hypacrosaurus is known as a duckbill dinosaur, as its snout resembled the shape of a duck beak due to the presence of laterally stretched and flat rostral bones.
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