The Saurolophus was a herbivorous Ornithopoda hadrosaurid that lived about 70 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period towards the end of the Mesozoic era. Their fossil remains were discovered in the Red Deer River in Alberta, Canada by Barnum Brown in the year 1911. It was Mr. Barnum Brown who also gave the name for this dinosaur. S. osborni was a type species and was described by Barnum Brown from Canadian fossils in 1912. In fact, it was one of the few dinosaurs whose almost complete fossil material is known from different countries, along with the skin impressions. Later on, a certain second specimen has also been identified in parts of Mongolia and China as Saurolophus angustirostris. These giant dinosaurs of the Reptilia classification were duck-billed and identified with a crest or spike on their head. This was also why these dinosaurs were given the name 'Saurolophus' as it was greek for 'lizard crest'. Saurolophus skeleton greatly resembled the skeletons of other hadrosaurids. They had short front limbs while the legs at the back were long, strong, and well-built. The long tail of this hadrosaurid provided balance when walking or running and was off the ground. The Saurolophus skull structure was quite unique. This plant-eating dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous had a toothless beak. As mentioned earlier, the cranial crest on top of their head at a 45-degree angle was hollow, and many dinosaur enthusiasts are still trying to find out what exactly their function was and their uses could have been many. One such speculation is that it was linked to a flap of skin that extended over the nostrils and could have been used for the purpose of attracting a mate or making loud noises. They also stated that these dinosaurs were herbivores after studying the fossils of their teeth and mouth. The mouth was known to have organs that helped the Saurolophus dinosaur to keep the food in its mouth, similar to the cheeks of humans. This allowed easy grinding of the food like plants, leaves, twigs, and so on. From the discovery of this dinosaur's fossil materials, it was also found that they possessed certain bony eye rings that were very strange to paleontologists and scientists. Barnum Brown's discovery of this dinosaur can be seen in the American Museum of Natural History!
The Saurolophus pronunciation is 'Sore-oh-loaf-us'. This plant-eating dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous was covered all over with scales and weighed about three tons!
This dinosaur species was a type of Ornithopoda hadrosaurid. They were believed to have lived about 70 million years ago and their fossil material was first discovered in Alberta, Canada. These duck-billed dinosaurs were a few of the hadrosaurid genus to appear in other countries of the world like Mongolia and China, both found in Asia.
Saurolophus or 'lizard crest' was known to have roamed the Earth during the Late Cretaceous period about 70 million years ago. Fossil remains, some material with skin impressions, have been located in North America and a few parts of Asia. This extinct herbivorous dinosaur was said to have had a spike-like crest on its head which was at a 45-degree angle.
Suspected by many scientists to have gone extinct due to the K-T mass extinction, these dinosaurs would have probably gone extinct about 66 million years approximately.
The Saurolophus lived in terrestrial habitats such as forests, grasslands, and mountain ranges. Their fossil remains were discovered in Alberta, Canada, but since their fossils were also found in different countries, it proved the fact that they had a wide range.
The habitat of this duck-billed dinosaur species was found to be in grasslands, mountains, forests, or any other terrestrial habitat. They probably co-existed with other dinosaurs like Protoceratops and Therizinosaurus, who were also plant-eaters.
The Saurolophus species, which had bony rings around their eyes, lived in small groups or herds, often grazing or moving from habitat to habitat. Hence, they would have been social creatures!
Like all dinosaurs, these hadrosaurids would have lived for about 70-80 years, the same as an average elephant today!
There is not much known about the way these dinosaurs gave birth apart from the fact they reproduction could have been oviparous, which means that they reproduced by laying eggs. Again, due to the lack of enough data and evidence, it is difficult to establish whether these dinosaurs were doting parents or not. However, these young dinosaurs were suspected to have become independent at an early age.
The prehistoric Saurolophus of the Reptilia classification lived in North America and parts of Asia. Their fossil remains were discovered in Alberta, Canada. Some fossils covered with skin impressions have also been located in China and Mongolia. The most peculiar feature of their appearance was their cranial feature that was closely related to the Parasaurolophus. They had a spike-like crest on top of their flat, sloping head or skull which was hollow, whose function scientists are still trying to determine. They also had bony rings around their eyes. These animals were able to walk on the ground with either two legs or all four of their limbs. The arms were shorter in comparison to the legs. The long, pointy tail of these plant-eating dinosaurs provided them with balance in movement and mostly stayed off the ground. They also had a toothless beak that was curved slightly upwards and a mouth with organs and teeth inside that made chewing or rather, grinding up the food a lot easier. Known to have evolved into modern-day birds, this crested herbivore from the Late Cretaceous of Canada could have been cathemeral, meaning that they would have been partially active, only through the day.
The number of bones that these dinosaurs, that resembled present-day birds and ate plants, is not known in great detail but they would have definitely had over 100 bones in total!
Being a member of the Hadrosaurid group, they would have probably communicated with each other in the form of loud growls and calls. The crested bony spike on their forehead was believed by some paleontologists to have created some sort of sound display.
The Saurolophus size was big enough for a hadrosaurid. They were about 385.8 in (9.8 m) in length and 98.4 in (2.5 m) in height.
Paleontological research has claimed these dinosaurs that ate plants and lived in the Late Cretaceous of Canada, Mongolia and China moved at a speed of 20 mph (32 kph).
The Saurolophus weighed about 4,188.7 lb (1,900 kg)!
There are no specific male or female names for the Saurolophus species that had a herbivorous diet. This lizard crest is known by its common name which is Saurolophus. Saurolophus osborni and Saurolophus angustirostris were types species of these hadrosaurids.
A baby Saurolophus was called a hatchling or a nestling, just like babies of all other dinosaur species.
These dinosaurs had a herbivorous diet. This meant they ate plants, twigs, leaves, and so on. The beak and the teeth structure inside their cheeks made it easy for grinding the food together.
Living in herds, these animals were social creatures. They wouldn't have necessarily been aggressive unless they or their habitats in any way were threatened.
The Parasaurolophus was closely related to the Saurolophus in appearance, especially in their heads. However, down the line, scientists had studied these two genera of hadrosaurids and concluded that these dinosaurs were distantly related!
Being one of the few dinosaurs to have been able to move around on both two limbs or on all fours and with robust legs, they were constantly moving around! Moving at a speed of 20 mph (32 kph), researchers say that they moved together in herds for protection, just like how it is seen in the grazing animals today. Bending their beak to the ground, they were able to support themselves on two forelimbs and it became even easier for them since they were ossified.
The fossils of these dinosaurs were found with the skin impression still very much intact! This was what made these dinosaurs very unique. It is quite a rare occurrence for the fossils of dinosaurs to be found with the skin impressions still intact.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly dinosaur facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other creatures from our Sauropelta interesting facts, or Chilantaisaurus fun facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Saurolophus coloring pages.
Second image by Debivort.