Dinosaur Image Gallery
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These duckbilled dinosaurs, named Saurolophus, enjoy the shade and water on a warm Late Cretaceous day. See more dinosaur images.

Canadian Museum of Nature

SAUROLOPHUS (sore-OL-oh-FUS)

Period: Late Cretaceous

Order, Suborder, Family: Ornithischia, Ornithopoda, Hadrosauridae

Location: North America (Canada), Asia (Mongolia)

Length: 33-43 feet (10-13 meters)

Saurolophus ("ridged reptile") was a hadrosaurid. It had a large bony spike pointing back over the top of its head between its eyes. The front of this thin crest covered a shallow hole that went down to the nostril area of the snout. This hole may have been covered with a long, fleshy "bag" of skin. The animal inflated the bag to make loud honking sounds. The bag may have also been a colorful display. Both features would have been useful during breeding season. It could call its mate and let another male Saurolophus know that it was the dominant male of the herd. The skeleton of Saurolophus was much like the other hadrosaurids. The back limbs were long and well built, while the front limbs were shorter. The tail was long and held high off the ground and was a balance when Saurolophus walked or ran on its back legs.

This Late Cretaceous dinosaur has been found in southern Alberta and in Mongolia. There may have been a land connection that allowed this animal to live in central Asia and North America. Saurolophus was closely related to Prosaurolophus and not as closely to Edmontosaurus.