STL Science Center

STL Science Center

26 February 2014

That Roman Nose

Kritosaurus means "Separate lizard" but it is noted that it has been mistranslated as "Noble lizard". This is thought to have been in reference to the bulbous and hooked nose of Kritosaurus. However, if we remember the original Brown recreation based on Edmontosaurus, the nasals were absent from the initially discovered fossil. The nose, unintentionally noted in the name, did not exist for Brown, making the mistranslation a rather horrible error that Brown most definitely did not intend. Strangely, despite the use of Edmontosaurus as a reference for the recreation of the nose, it was not the first genus to be considered as a synonym to Kritosaurus. After the initial discovery, though I may not have said this explicitly before, a great amount of material of Kritosaurus was recovered, but it was most often given the name Gryposaurus when represented in art and literature; Gryposaurus is a close relative of Kritosaurus with a similarly built skull. Placed together with another hadrosaur named Secernosaurus, these three dinosaurs make up a tribe known as the Kritosaurini. Since the creation of this tribe a few other species have been added to the tribe and the group has been placed into the Saurolophinae, which consists of other well known hadrosaurs like Edmontosaurus, Maisaura, and Saurolophus to name a few. This tribe and upper clade nesting makes up a large group of hadrosaurs that span in range from Canada to areas of South America. Kritosaurus is much smaller in its range, but is an important individual and, as we have seen, is morphologically very similar to other hadrosaurs, adding to the taxonomy confusion.
©Nobu Tamura

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