Corythosaurus

Corythosaurus dino

In Greek, Corythosaurus means ‘lizard with a helmet’. It is a hadrosaurid dinosaur that lived 70 million years ago in the Cretaceous period in North America. of this dinosaur only one species has been found. All hadrosaurids have heads and especially ridges that are very similar, the Corythosaurus is no exception, has a crest similar to others of the same species, it is even believed to be a close relative of the Olorotitan that although it has no similar crest has similar features.

The Corythosaurus measured about 10 meters and weighed up to 4 tons. He could spend long periods in the water, at first it was believed that he lived completely in the water, because his hands and feet had a kind of membrane, however, later it was discovered that they were not membranes but pads that many animals of today have and that help them to walk on land.

The Corythosaurus had an excellent sound from the ear and much better view, so it was a difficult prey to catch. It is believed that the Corythosaurus had skin that looked or was very close to scales, its tail was long and thick, and like other long-tailed dinosaurs, it helped it maintain its balance. Although he did not live in the water, he could spend considerable time in the water, first to get to safety and second because he had the ability to swim, although slow could be a perfect escape route.

It was discovered in 1912 by Varnum Brown in Alberta, near Red Deer River. This was not an isolated finding but in the same place were found several fossils, for example a Prosaurolohus and a Lambeosaurus, so it is believed that these dinosaurs could have lived together in perfect peace…. A key point in the history of the discovery of Corythosaurus is that it was found almost in perfect condition, even by the way it was fossilized it preserved some of the skin, which was an excellent find and gave rise to many discoveries. Unfortunately in 1916 the remains were transported to England, the tragedy occurred when the Mount Temple, the ship carrying the fossils was sunk by the German warship SMS Moewe, all the fossils over 75 million years old sank to the bottom of the North Atlantic.

Fortunately, more remains have been found. Seven species of Corythosaurus are known. Later in 1975 the scholar Peter Dodson did in-depth studies among the different skulls and ridges of the different species, and found that some of them did not belong to different species, but that the differences were due to the fact that they were of different sexes and ages, so it was concluded that there is probably only one species, the C. Casuarius.

The Corythosaurus was herbivorous, i.e. it ate plants, these dinosaurs usually lived in herds and ate all together. The Corythosaurus had a beak and not front teeth, in its jaw it had hundreds of teeth that wore out and were replaced as they became useless. These teeth were in charge of grinding the food. It is believed that the food he ate most was ground plants and fruits he found in the forest. It is believed that he had to eat all day in order to have the energy to survive. To eat and be able to reach the leaves and fruits, he would stand on his hind legs, so that he could reach certain flowers and leaves more tender, as in the pines or in the magnolia trees, plants that have been fossilized with the Crythosaurus. He could reach these leaves with his beaks or his hands.

What makes it special is definitely its ridge, which although it shares with others of its kind, none of the ridges was the same and was definitely very important in the practical life of the Corythosaurus. About 20 skulls have been found, so it was possible to describe their bony crest that was placed above their head, their crest had the peculiarity that it also contained nasal canals, this means that somehow their sense of smell and their crest were connected, and not only that, but the entire respiratory system, ie that the air and especially the sound traveled through its crest.

This is why it is thought that the Corythosaurus made a very specific sound, these sounds could have been the center of their social life, for example to communicate over long distances, to warn them where there was food or to let them know of any danger. Of course sound would be crucial for attracting females and perhaps many other functions than living in herds would make them social beings, as is the case with the sounds of elephants today.

At first, when many skulls were discovered, the size of the ridges confused the scientists, but in the end they realized that Corythosaurus’ babies did not have a crest and the females had a very small crest, so it is believed that the main producer of sounds was the male and that perhaps it not only worked for communication within the herd, but could also frighten potential predators.

Where else can you find him?

The Corythosaurus is quite famous even though its name is not exactly known. It’s one of the dinosaurs featured in Fantasia, the movie. He also appears in Jurassic Park III and of course in the video games derived from this film as Operation Genesis.