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Macanga Institute Group

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Wesley Reed
Wesley Reed

REGALIS - JONA 16x



Among living vertebrates, soft tissues are responsible for labile appendages (combs, wattles, proboscides) that are critical for activities ranging from locomotion to sexual display [1]. However, soft tissues rarely fossilize, and such soft-tissue appendages are unknown for many extinct taxa, including dinosaurs. Here we report a remarkable "mummified" specimen of the hadrosaurid dinosaur Edmontosaurus regalis from the latest Cretaceous Wapiti Formation, Alberta, Canada, that preserves a three-dimensional cranial crest (or "comb") composed entirely of soft tissue. Previously, crest function has centered on the hypertrophied nasal passages of lambeosaurine hadrosaurids, which acted as resonance chambers during vocalization [2-4]. The fleshy comb in Edmontosaurus necessitates an alternative explanation most likely related to either social signaling or sexual selection [5-7]. This discovery provides the first view of bizarre, soft-tissue signaling structures in a dinosaur and provides additional evidence for social behavior. Crest evolution within Hadrosaurinae apparently culminated in the secondary loss of the bony crest at the terminal Cretaceous; however, the new specimen indicates that cranial ornamentation was in fact not lost but substituted in Edmontosaurus by a fleshy display structure. It also implies that visual display played a key role in the evolution of hadrosaurine crests and raises the possibility of similar soft-tissue structures among other dinosaurs. Copyright 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




REGALIS - JONA 16x

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