Pachycephalosaur Skull Cap

   

 

Now that our store is finally reopened, you can come see in person what June's Fossil of the Month is!


This interesting skull cap from a Pachycephalosaur dinosaur was found by chance by a teenage girl who was horseback riding on her property in Wyoming. She picked it up not knowing what it was and kept it for several years. When I went walking with her father on their farm, I learned of her discovery and acquired this incredible specimen from her. 

When discussing this skull cap with one of the paleontologists at the Buffalo Museum of Science, he said it is possible this may be a new species of Pachycephalosaur. This skull is very small for its species and most likely is not a juvenile because its horns had already grown in (as seen by the knob-like protrusions on the rear of the cap). 

Pachycephalosaur means "thick-headed lizard," which is fitting as this herbivore that lived during the Late Cretaceous period (~ 70 million years ago) is known for the extraordinary dome on top of its skull that could grow up to 10 inches thick. The dome made of bone had small knobs or spikes protruding from the sides and front. It is uncertain what the strange skull cap's purpose was; It was originally hypothesized that it was used for head butting, but that theory has been discredited with new ideas that it was mainly used as display. These bipedal dinosaurs had short forelimbs and could reach over 14 feet in length. 

 

Pachycephalosaur Skull Cap
Cretaceous
Lance Creek Formation
Torrington, Wyoming