Science and Tech


First-Of-Its-Kind Dinosaur Found With Rooster-Like Crest

The new specimen is a duck-billed dino with a fleshy adornment on its head. It was found in a rock formation in Alberta, Canada.
Posted at 9:26 PM, Dec 12, 2013

Most scientists believe birds descended from dinosaurs — but one newly discovered fossil shows a dinosaur really looking the part.

The new specimen is a duck-billed dino to begin with, but this one also has a fleshy adornment on its head — kind of like one of these guys. (Via Mirror

"Cock-a-doodle-doo!" (Via YouTube / YANGedwin)

The rare remains were discovered in a single block of sandstone in a rock formation in Alberta, Canada. (Via BBC)

But researchers apparently didn’t know exactly what they were looking at. Paleontologist Phil Bell inadvertently put his chisel straight through the fossil.

Quoted by National Geographic, he said, "I was just expecting there to be rock, and all of a sudden there was skin underneath, and I thought to myself, 'Whoops.'"

Whoops indeed. The discovery of the fleshy crest is reportedly the first in the plant-eating species, which has been on the books for more than 100 years. According to Bell, this discovery could change the way we look at dinosaurs in general.

Quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald, he said, "The fact that we have such a bizarre crest on a skull that has absolutely no indication of some kind of cranial ornament leaves the doors wide open to a range of possibilities in all other dinosaurs."

Now crests have been found on dinosaurs before, but typically they were made of bone and were believed to be used for sound production. (Via World Science Festival)

According to USA Today the duck-billed dino's fleshy crests may have been used to attract mates. Judging by their description though, it doesn’t sound very attractive.

“The curved crest reached 8 inches high and roughly a foot in length, making it look like a too-small bowler hat for an animal that weighed as much as a small bulldozer and stretched more than 30 feet long.”

Researchers say the discovery should lead to closer examination of future dinosaur finds, including looking for features not made of bone — like crests and feathers.

Duck-billed dinosaurs are believed to have walked the earth 65 to 75 million years ago. Research on the crested-specimen was published in the journal Current Biology.