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Olorotitan Dinosaur of the Week

Olorotitan Dinosaur of the Week

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Olorotitan was a genus of lambeosaurine duckbilled dinosaur from the middle or latest Maastrichtian-age Late Cretaceous1 Tsagayan Formation beds located in Kundur, Amur Region, Far Eastern Russia. The remains, consisting of a nearly complete skeleton, were described by Pascal Godefroit et al. in mid-2003. The generic name arharensis means “gigantic swan” while the specific descriptor refers to the location of the fossil find at Arhara County. Olorotitan is distinct from other crested duckbills by its possession of an unusual crest that points backward and takes on a hatchet or fan-like shape. Its discovery has implications for the diversity of lambeosaurine hadrosaurids.


Olorotitan arharensis is based on the most complete lambeosaurine skeleton found outside North America to date. It was a large hadrosaurid, comparable to other large lambeosaurines like Parasaurolophus cyrtocristatus,2 and may have grown up to 12 meters long (39 ft).3 It is characterized by numerous unique features for a hadrosaurid, the most obvious being the large hatchet-like hollow crest adorning its skull. The skull itself is supported by a rather elongated neck, having 18 vertebrae, exceeding the previous hadrosaurid maximum of 15. The sacrum, with 15 or 16 vertebrae, has at least 3 more vertebrae than other hadrosaurids. Further along the vertebral series, in the proximal third of the tail, there are articulations between the tips of the neural spines, making that caudal area particularly rigid; the regularity of these connections suggests that they are not due to a pathology, although more specimens are needed to be certain. Godefroit and his coauthors found through a phylogenetic analysis that it was closest to Corythosaurus and Hypacrosaurus.2

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Oohkotokia Dinosaur of the Week

Oohkotokia Dinosaur of the Week

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Oohkotokia (pron.: /ˌoʊ.oʊkəˈtoʊkiə/ OH-oh-kə-TOH-kee-ə)citation needed is a genus of ankylosaurid dinosaur within the subfamily Ankylosaurinae. It is known from the upper levels of the Two Medicine Formation (late Campanian stage, about 74 Ma ago) of Montana, USA. The discovery of Oohkotokia supports that Ankylosaurine dinosaurs existed and flourished continuously in Montana and/or Alberta throughout the late Campanian and early Maastrichtian stages in the Late Cretaceous period. It was a large, heavily-built, quadrupedal, herbivore, that could grow up to 6 m (19.7 ft) long.


The generic name, Oohkotokia, is derived from the Blackfoot animate noun “ooh’kotoka”, meaning “large stone” and the Latin suffix “ia” meaning “derived from”; thus “child of stone”, which is a reference to its extensive body armor. The generic name also honors the Blackfeet people, on whose land the specimen was found. The specific name, O. horneri, refers to John R. Horner of the Museum of the Rockies, who collected the type specimen.1 Oohkotokia contains a single type species, Oohkotokia horneri, named and described in 2013 by Paul Penkalski. Penkalski described this genus after finding it in the collection of Montana’s Museum of the Rockies where it had been stored for more than three decades.

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Nothronychus Dinosaur of the Week

Nothronychus Dinosaur of the Week

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Nothronychus is a genus of theropod dinosaur classified in the group Therizinosauria, from the Cretaceous of North America.


The type species of this dinosaur, Nothronychus mckinleyi, was described by James Kirkland and Douglas G. Wolfe in 2001. It was recovered near New Mexico’s border with Arizona, in an area known as the Zuni Basin, from rocks assigned to the Moreno Hill Formation, dating to the late Cretaceous period (mid-Turonian stage), around 91 million years ago. A second specimen, described in 2009 as a second species, Nothronychus graffami, was found in the Tropic Shale Formation of Utah, dating to the early Turonian, between one million and a half million years older than N. mckinleyi.

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Citipati Dinosaur of the Week

Citipati Dinosaur of the Week

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Citipati (pronounced ˈtʃiːt̪ɪpət̪i in Hindi, meaning ‘funeral pyre lord’) is a genus of oviraptorid theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous Period of what is now Mongolia (specifically, the Djadokhta Formation of Ukhaa Tolgod, in the Gobi Desert). It is one of the best-known oviraptorids, thanks to a number of well-preserved skeletons, including several specimens found in brooding positions atop nests of eggs. These nesting specimens have helped to solidify the link between non-avian dinosaurs and birds.


The type species, Citipati osmolskae, was described by James M. Clark, Mark Norell, and Rinchen Barsbold in 2001. A second, as yet unnamed species may also exist. Citipati is often confused with the similar Oviraptor.

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Chirostenotes Dinosaur of the Week

Chirostenotes Dinosaur of the Week

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Chirostenotes (/ˌkaɪərɵˈstɛnɵtiːz/ KY-ro-STEN-ə-teez; named from Greek ‘narrow-handed’) is a genus of oviraptorosaurian dinosaur from the late Cretaceous (about 75 million years ago) of Alberta, Canada. The type species is Chirostenotes pergracilis. Some researchers recognize a second species, C. elegans.


Chirostenotes was characterized by a toothless beak, long arms ending in slender relatively straight claws, long powerful legs with slender toes. In life, the animal was about 2 metres (6.6 ft) long. Chirostenotes was probably an omnivore or herbivore, although the beak is not as heavily constructed as in the Asian Oviraptoridae. It likely ate small reptiles and mammals, as well as plants, eggs and insects.

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Lambeosaurus Dinosaur of the Week

Lambeosaurus Dinosaur of the Week

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Lambeosaurus (/ˌlæmbi.ɵˈsɔrəs/ LAM-bee-ə-SOR-əs; meaning “Lambe’s lizard”) is a genus of hadrosaurid dinosaur that lived about 76 to 75 million years ago, in the Late Cretaceous Period (Campanian) of North America. This bipedal/quadrupedal, herbivorous dinosaur is known for its distinctive hollow cranial crest, which in the best-known species resembled a hatchet. Several possible species have been named, from Alberta (Canada), Montana (USA), and Baja California (Mexico), but only the two Canadian species are currently recognized as valid.


Lambeosaurus was belatedly described in 1923 by William Parks, over twenty years after the first material was studied by Lawrence Lambe. The genus has had a complicated taxonomic history, in part because small-bodied crested hadrosaurids now recognized as juveniles were once thought to belong to their own genera and species. Currently, the various skulls assigned to the type species L. lambei are interpreted as showing age differences and sexual dimorphism. Lambeosaurus was closely related to the better known Corythosaurus, which is found in slightly older rocks, as well as the less well-known genera Hypacrosaurus and Olorotitan. All had unusual crests, which are now generally assumed to have served social functions like noisemaking and recognition.

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Kryptops Dinosaur of the Week

Kryptops Dinosaur of the Week

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Kryptops (meaning “covered face”, in reference to evidence that the face bore a tightly-adhering covering) is a genus of theropod dinosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Niger. It is known from a partial skeleton found at the Gadoufaoua locality in the western Ténéré Desert, in rocks of the Aptian-Albian age Elrhaz Formation. This dinosaur was described by Paul Sereno and Stephen Brusatte in 2008, with a single species to date: the type species K. palaios (“old”).1


The holotype skeleton, MNN GAD1, includes a maxilla (main tooth-bearing bone of the upper jaw), vertebrae, ribs, and articulated pelvic girdle and sacrum, belonging to an adult about 6 to 7 meters long (20 to 23 ft). According to the describers, this specimen represents one of the earliest known abelisaurids, and is notable for the heavily textured surface of the maxilla; the presence of pits and impressions of blood vessels indicates that there was a covering firmly attached to the face, perhaps of keratin. Sereno and Brusatte performed a cladistic analysis that found Kryptops to be the most basal abelisaurid. This was based on several features, including a maxilla textured externally by impressed vascular grooves and a narrow antorbital fossa, that clearly place Kryptops palaios within Abelisauridae as its oldest known member.1 Carrano et al., on the other hand, consider Kryptops palaios to be a chimera, and state that its postcranial remains (especially a pelvis and sacrum), found some 15 metres from the holotypic maxilla, actually belong to a carcharodontosaurid (possibly to Eocarcharia dinops).2

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