STL Science Center

STL Science Center

10 October 2015

Fighting with Your Head

(C) Eivind Bovor
Stygimoloch, regardless of its family tree, had a head made for hitting things. The horns around the circumference of the dermatocranium were probably less well adapted for smashing into other skulls than the flattened dome-y parts. The skull, unlike in this illustration, was much flatter than it appears in both of these animals. The shape shown here would have been detrimental for hitting head to head and even head to body. The body of the animal on the ground, assuming it was hit in the chest, for instance, would be in a fairly bad predicament if a solid cone shaped skull impacted it. Additionally, the cone shaped skull of the still standing dinosaur, despite its ability to deflect and transmit stresses, would probably still be damaged from smashing into the chest of another dinosaur. Regardless, the head ornamentation and shape of the dome are the most distinctive features of this illustration. The body plan of Stygimoloch would have been reminiscent, in overall shape, to those of other pachycephalosaurs. Those, in turn, were somewhat similar to other large bipedal herbivores such as hadrosaurs.

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