STL Science Center

STL Science Center

18 June 2011

Pictures of a Pachycephalosaurid

Prenocephale has not made it into too many grand murals, but there are some good images out there. There's this computer graphics made Prenocephale which was used on the Discovery Channel not too long ago for the short series Dinosaur Planet. Notice how the skull fits over the eyes like a soldier's helmet. It's quite an interesting placement of the skull ridge considering the technical drawings I have found of Prenocephale skulls which appear to have much less of a ridge. The beak is fairly small and clipped with small nostrils above the beak and the eyes appear small red in this image.

 One of the best technical drawings of the Prenocephale genera shows the aspects of the skull that mark it as a separate genera quite well from the very comparable Stegoceras. These are a lacking/closed supratemporal fenestra- an opening between the bones at the rear of the skull, usually below the post orbital and squamosal bones- as well as the absence of grooves along the prefrontals and a dome restrictive posterior parietal. One thing that is certainly missing from this drawing is the lower beak's upturned area at the anterior of the premaxillary bone. Even with a horny sheath covering it the jaw would need to turn up a little to form the beak we see in other images, otherwise the beak would be much more like those that we see in the other side of the Marginocephalia; the Ceratopsians, which had a beak much more readily designed for clipping off vegetation. Pachycephalosaurus itself does not possess this clipping beak and neither do the rest of the clade, to my knowledge, so it should be safe to say that this aspect is minorly incorrect here.

The last image I wanted to look at today is by M. Shiraishi, of whom we find a lot of work in the dinosaur world. Typically he is quite accurate in his work and he is also quite accurate to the known skull and bone fragments found for this animal in this drawing. The skull ridge, however, is notable in this version as it is less pronounced and it also lacks many of the parietal and squamosal nodes around the base of the ridge. I chalk that up to artistic license, which is fine, but probably the largest inaccuracy in the image.

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