STL Science Center

STL Science Center

07 October 2015

Reading Readings

Typically I try not to host links to other hosted sites, but now and again there are very good reasons for doing just that. Over twenty Gorgosaurus specimens are known to science currently and one of the more recent arrivals to the pack was being prepared in and around the year 2011. The undertaking was documented well and, rather than steal pictures and reexamine the process, any interested party could read about the work on a different blog.

In terms of anatomy that we find very interesting, most of the Gorgosaurus body is very similar to other mid-family tree tyrannosaurids. The head, however, is similar to other theropods, including tyrannosaurids, in the ways in which it is different. The confusion of that statement is all housed in the supraorbital area of the dermatocranium. Directly above the eyes there are two small horns, typically illustrated much larger than the dermal bones would indicate, that are rostrolaterally oriented and could only be ornamental in nature. This ornamentation would typically be interpreted as evidence of sexual ornamentation or sexual dimorphism. However, the recent trend in regards to sexual dimorphism in tyrannosaurs has been to look for (mostly hope for) medullary tissue in the bones; ornamentations have been considered, since, as species indicators and communicative structures that could be used to signal to rivals as well as the other sex when needed. Many of these symbolic communication studies are difficult to validate because of the lack of naturally acting tyrannosaurs roaming the countryside. The horns, despite their interpreted size, add a bit more devilishness whatever their purpose.
ROM 1247 cast, photo by Mark Peters

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