Dinosaurs: Cryolophosaurus!

Cryolophosaurus, Copyright 2015 Liz Vitale
Cryolophosaurus, Copyright 2015 Liz Vitale

During the early Jurassic period,Antarctica was much closer to the equator and therefore had a more temperate climate—nowhere near the sub-freezing temps of today. It even boasted its own forests. Here lived Cryolophosaurus, whose name means “Cold Crested Lizard”. It was a very early carnosaur that predated others of its kind by tens of millions of years. One hundred and ninety million years ago, Cryolophosaurus ranked among the world’s biggest predatory dinosaurs, with an estimated length of over 20 feet. The truly huge carnosaurs did not start appearing until several million years later.

Cryolophosaurus sported a strange crest atop its head that ran from side to side, rather than from front to back as most dinosaur crests are positioned. The appearance of this pompadour-like decoration has led paleontologists to nickname it the “Elvisaurus”. The crest was most likely used as ornamentation for attracting the opposite sex, and it is thought that the crest was probably brightly colored.

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