STL Science Center

STL Science Center

27 February 2015

Bifurcated Heads

©Dmitry Bogdanov
Dicraeosaurus hansemanni was named as the type of the genus in 1914 by Werner Janensch. The small diplodocid comes from Tanzania, like many other German sauropods from the early 20th century. The short wide body of the Late Jurassic was unique in a number of ways. The most obvious, looking at its head, is the feature that gave the dinosaur its name. Janensch and others, even us, could clearly see the bifurcated nasal passage that is shown here arching down the front of the face. The skull itself possessed two large fenestrae at the apex of the skull where the nares allowed air to enter the cranium. The soft tissue, represented here as tubular nostrils, is unknown, but this is an interesting interpretation. As for other interesting features, the tall neural spines of the vertebrae, the peg-like teeth (that are shown in this image in a wonderful looking overbite), and its short and wide neck and body are all very interesting aspects of the anatomy that can be seen in the skeletal remains that have been recovered.

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