STL Science Center

STL Science Center

27 September 2020

Antarctic Dinosaurs

©Dmitry Bogdanov
Over the years this site has covered a lot of different dinosaurs and fossil animals from a lot of different areas, regions, and continents (and of course some animals that were living between continents at one point or another). I have been digging back in the oldest of entries lately to try to re-cover some dinosaurs and fossil animals that we may not have discussed. Interspersed with new animals, I think this is useful for everyone interested in reading, and it lets us all revisit some old friends. One of the past favorites is a large theropod dinosaur from Antarctica with a rather interesting bony headpiece: Cryolophosaurus ellioti (Hammer and Hickerson 1994).

Cryolophosaurus roughly translates to "cold/frozen crest lizard" and for good reason. Being found in Antarctica explains the first part of the name, but the second part of this genus is attributed to the large crest on the top and back of this animal's head. An estimated size of 6.5 m (21.3 ft) and 465 kg (1,025 lb) make Cryolophosaurus the largest theropod of the Early Jurassic. It has been noted that the known remains are not even those of an adult, which means that these size estimates probably are not for a full grown animal. Molina-Pérez and Larramendi (2016) presented estimates of a fully grown adult at approximately 7.7 m (25.3 ft) and 780 kg (1,720 lbs). Regardless of its size, what people notice first is the crest. The dinosaur has been given the nickname "Elvisaurus" (I very much dislike Elvis, but to each their own) because the crest is oriented from one side to the other, making it appear, apparently, like Elvis' pompadour hairstyle. You be the judge on this one.


Hammer, W. R., and Hickerson, W. J., (1994). A Crested Theropod Dinosaur from Antarctica. Science. 264 (5160): 828–830. doi:10.1126/science.264.5160.828

Molina-Pérez, R. and Larramendi, A. (2016). Récords y curiosidades de los dinosaurios Terópodos y otros dinosauromorfos. Barcelona, Spain: Larousse. p. 254.

Smith, N. D.; Makovicky, P. J.; Hammer, W. R.; Currie, P. J. (2007). Osteology of Cryolophosaurus ellioti (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Early Jurassic of Antarctica and implications for early theropod evolution. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 151 (2): 377–421. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2007.00325.x

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