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Goyocephale lattimorei See more dinosaur images.

Brian Franczak

GOYOCEPHALE (GOY-oh-cee-FAL-ee)

Period: Late Cretaceous

Order, Suborder, Family: Ornithischia, Marginocephalia, Homalocephalidae

Location: Asia (Mongolia)

Length: Unknown, but probably no more than 6 1/2 feet (2 meters)

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The flat-headed Goyocephale was one of the most unusual pachycephalosaurs. It was found by the Joint Polish-Mongolian Paleontological Expeditions to the Gobi Desert, and was named and described in 1982.

Few pachycephalosaurs are known from more than a skull, but some bones of the skeleton of Goyocephale were also found, including the tail and front and back limbs. The skeleton, although poorly preserved, shows that Goyocephale was built much like other pachycephalosaurs. The limbs were lightly built, and the backbone was reinforced by ossified (bony) tendons along the spines of the vertebrae (back bones). This strengthened the spinal cord and probably helped reduce stress during head-butting contests. As the name Goyocephale ("decorated head") indicates, the skull roof was rough and pitted. Although flat-headed, Goyocephale probably had head-butting contests in which males fought for females and territory during breeding seasons. Also, the prominent, caninelike teeth that were in the front of both the upper and lower jaws probably were a display to scare other animals away. This kind of display was also found in some primitive deer (muntjacs) and the heterodontosaurid dinosaurs.

Goyocephale is one of the few known flat-headed pachycephalosaurs. Its relatives included Homalocephale and Wannanosaurus, both from the Late Cretaceous of central and eastern Asia.