Protohadros was a new species and a basal member of the Hydrosaur family. Its other name is a duck-billed dinosaur and it belonged to the Dinosauria, Ornithischia clade. The fossils of this dinosaur that were discovered in the year 1994, suggest that these species inhabited parts of North America about 95 million years ago. The remains were first excavated by the paleontologist Gary Byrd, but later on, the fossils of this Dinosauria species were reported by Jason Head in 1998. He was also responsible for naming this species. All the information on this new species, a basal member from the Cenomanian of Texas was found in the Journal of Vertebrate paleontology, by J Head.
The Greek name Proto, meaning first, and Hadros, meaning thick, refers to the fact that these dinosaurs were the most primitive Hadrosaur known. Their skull structure implies that their diet included plants only and that, they were related to the Hadrosauridae family. The fossil specimen of this dinosaur holotype is SMU 74582 and was spotted in the Woodbine Formation belonging to the Late Cretaceous period. They are also called duck-billed dinosaurs, due to their protruding snout. Keep on reading to know more fun facts about this intriguing dinosaur.
The Protohadros dinosaur is pronounced as Pro-toe-had-ross.
This dinosaur was a medium-sized Ornithopod and belonged to the Dinosauria, Ornithischia clade. Protohadros was considered a new species of basal hadrosauroid.
This duck-billed dino roamed the Earth during the Late Cretaceous period.
This new species of basal hadrosauroid became extinct more than 90 million years ago.
J Head explained in his book about this Hadrosaur from the Cenomanian of Texas-Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. These dinosaur species roamed in North America and their remains were excavated from Woodbine Formation for the first time. This fossil specimen was given the holotype name, SMU 74582. Much before J Head, the ribs and a hand ungual were excavated by Gary Byrd in 1994 in Texas, USA.
The duck-billed dinosaur inhabited lush green forests with dense vegetation. These Hadrosaurid dinosaurs used to forage on swamp plants, low-lying bushes, and overhanging branches.
Although there is not much information available in this regard, it is probable that these Hadrosaur species lived solitarily or in herds. They could have also been in pairs during their mating season.
We do not know the exact lifespan of Protohadros due to a lack of information. However, scientists have estimated the average lifespan of a dinosaur to be about 20-30 years. So, the Protohadros probably had similar longevity.
The fossils found in Arlington, TX do not provide sufficient information related to the reproduction of Protohadros byrdi. We do know, that just like other dinosaur species, for example, the Coloradisaurus, this duck-billed dinosaur reproduced by laying gigantic eggs. Their eggs were amniotic in nature, that provided nourishment to the developing embryo.
Duckbill dinosaurs from the Cenomanian of Texas (Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology) were medium-sized with a body length of about 275.6 in (700 cm) and a height of 27.6 in (70 cm). These dinosaurs of the Cretaceous period were morphologically related to the Hadrosaur species. Their skull is measured to be around 27.6 in (70 cm) by the paleontologists. The lower jaws of these species were massive, just like the Rebbachisaurus, which helped them in grinding and crushing plants and branches. These herbivorous dinosaurs, related to the Hadrosaurids, possessed a long protruding snout in the front. According to J Head, this protruded snout helped them in grazing on bushes and plants, which were the diet of these creatures. The back of their skull had a cranial joint system, which helped them in this grinding and chewing of their food. The hind legs were longer than the front legs, and according to J Head, these herbivorous dinos could run or walk on their hind legs only.
The exact number of bones possessed by this species is unknown. Only a partial skeleton has been excavated, which does not give us sufficient information on the complete Protohadros byrdi skeletal structure.
Like other dinosaurs, for example, the Iguanacolossus, they were able to communicate both vocally and visually. Many paleontologists consider their calls sounded like cracking sounds.
The Protohadros size was about 27.6 in (70 cm) in terms of height and was 275.6 in (700 cm) in body length. It is considered to be way smaller than the Sauroposeidon.
Based on the anatomical structure of this species, belonging to the Protohadros genus, their hind legs were a little longer than their front limbs. They were able to run quickly using their hind legs only.
The weight of Prothadros byrdi from the Cretaceous period was about 2 t (1814.3 kg).
No specific names were given to the male and female dinosaurs of the Protohadros genus.
A baby Protohadros could be called a hatchling or a nestling, owing to the fact that the dinosaurs laid eggs.
These dinosaurs were herbivorous in nature. Their diet included several types of plants and tree branches. The remains of their strong lower jaw and the protruding snout suggest that their diet also included swamp plants and underlying bushes.
Although not much information is available on their nature, we may conclude that this dinosaur species was not aggressive, based on the fact that they were herbivores and completely relied on plants. In fact, they were always on the run to escape from dangerous predators, who were their major threats at that time.
Gary Byrd, after his discovery of the partial remains of the Protohadros byrdi, informed his colleague, Young-Nam-Lee, about this finding. Young-Nam-Lee, later in 1997, published certain facts related to the Protohadros in his book, 'Bird and dinosaur footprints in the Woodbine Formation (Cenomanian), Texas'. In the recent year of 2018, Chase D. Brownstein mentioned this species and its links to the Hadrosaurs in his book, 'The biogeography and ecology of the Cretaceous non-avian dinosaurs of Appalachia'. Though they were initially considered to be basal members of the Hadrasaurs, at present, they are regarded as non-hadrosaurid iguanodontians, still closely related to the Hadrosauridae.
The term Protohadros is derived from the Greek word 'Protos', meaning 'first' and 'Hadros' meaning 'thick'. They are the oldest Hadrosaur species known to us.
The Hadrosaurs belong to a clade of Ornithischia, which comprises all the duck-billed dinosaur species. Their remains were mostly unearthed from parts of North America. As the Protohadros fossils, which were also excavated from North America, showed a stark morphological similarity with other Hadrosauroid members, so they are considered to be Hadrosaurs, as well. Additionally, some scientists believed Protohadrus was intermediate to more developed hadrosaurids, like those belonging to the genus Hadrosaurus.
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Main image by Audrey.m.horn
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