Brachylophosaurus (Wikimedia Commons).


Brachylophosaurus (Greek for "short-crested lizard"); pronounced BRACK-ee-LOW-fo-SORE-us


Woodlands of North America

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (75 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 20 feet long and two tons



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Thick, downturned beak; short crest on head; susceptibility to cancer


About Brachylophosaurus

Three complete fossils of the hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, Brachylophosaurus have been discovered, and they're so amazingly well-preserved that (as paleontologists often do) they were immediately given nicknames: Elvis, Leonardo and Roberta.

(The same research team also unearthed a fourth, incomplete fossil of a juvenile, which they dubbed Peanut.) The most completely preserved specimen, Leonardo, is the subject of a Discovery Channel documentary, Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy. In this show, it's revealed that Leonardo had a birdlike crop on its neck (presumably to aid in digestion) as well as different-sized scales on different parts of its body, among other unique anatomical features.

Although it's named for the unusually short crest on its head (short, that is, for a hadrosaur), Brachylophosaurus stood out more for its thick, downward-turning beak, which some paleontologists take as evidence that the males of this genus head-butted one another for the attention of females. This dinosaur is also known for its unique pathology: detailed analysis of various fossil specimens in 2003 revealed that these individuals suffered from an assortment of tumors, and one was in the end-stages of metastatic cancer (which may either have killed this dinosaur, or weakened it sufficiently that it was easily picked off by a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex).

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Strauss, Bob. "Brachylophosaurus." ThoughtCo, Jan. 24, 2017, Strauss, Bob. (2017, January 24). Brachylophosaurus. Retrieved from Strauss, Bob. "Brachylophosaurus." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2018).