Pachycephalosaur heads

And so ends Carnegie marginocephalic week with the last of their pachycephalosaur material. For once though, this is something I really haven’t had before. While long ago I did feature a cast of a Pachycepahlosaurus skull (that looks suspsiciously identical to the various mounted skeletons I’ve show) here at least is something a bit different. First off, there’s a skull of Stegoceras (above, and the small one below) which even to my inexpert eye is clearly rather different to that of Pachy. Moreover, the ‘shelf’ at the back of the head – the key character that unites the pachycephalosaurs with the ceratopsians, is clearly visible and more dramatic that the usual fine bosses and spines that are generally available.

The second piece is also a Pachycepahlosaurus skull-cap though in rather less good condition, though I’m not sure if the lack of spikes and so on at the back of the head is due to wear / damage, or a lack of development. I suspect the former, since this was rather larger than the cast on display.

3 Responses to “Pachycephalosaur heads”


  1. 1 peteykins 10/12/2011 at 1:33 pm

    My understanding is that very, very little Pachycephalosaurus material has ever been found, and so reconstructions are based on other pachycephalosaur-type dinosaurs, such as Stegoceras and Dracorex.

    I remember as a very young dinosaur fan I thought that finding a complete Pachy skeleton would be one of the ultimate paleontological holy grails. I guess that’s still true!

  2. 2 reptilianmonster 11/12/2011 at 12:12 am

    Well, if one goes by the weirdness that is the pattern of Pachycephalosaurus ontogeny described by Horner & Goodwin, 2009 ( http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0007626 ) , another possibility is that the lack of spikes may actually be due to development.

    • 3 David Hone 11/12/2011 at 8:42 am

      Well yeah, *if*, and an awful lot of people are very sceptical about this. At the very least there’s no consensus on the issue and in terms of clarity, it’s simpler right now to simply call this Stegoceras.


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