|Image of bad Iphone camera quality, but with dinosaurs.|
During my time working at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum, I've gotten a ton of questions relating to this skull and our other Tyrannosaurus from people glancing at it through it's display case. One of the most-asked questions I've got actually has to do with what isn't present in this mount. If you notice at the bottom of the picture, Harley's jaws are separate and not touching. This has lead to a lot of questions and suggestions from visitors that Tyrannosaurus was able to separate it's jaws out like a snake in order to swallow huge prey items.
Oh yeah, and next to Harley is his neighbor, LACM 154919, a Lambeosaurus lambei. At just a little bit over two feet long, this skull has hardly any of the massive overpowering presence that Harley's skull does, and doesn't get nearly as many family pictures in front of it. It's a shame really, especially given the size of the actual animal it probably came from. We do have some other ornithischian dinosaurs with a more overpowering presence, however...
|More bad Iphone camera quality, with a dinosaur.|
You can tell that this specimen is a T. prorsus, and not a T. horridus, by the enlarged nasal horn. T. horridus has a little stub of a nasal horn on its head, but longer (proportionality speaking) brow horns than T. prorsus. Work done by Scannella and Fowler (2009) suggests that these two species were separated stratigraphically in the Hell Creek and other similar formations, with horridus specimens appearing in older rocks and prorsus occurring closer to the K-T boundary. Some specimens of Triceratops found in the middle of the Hell Creek even show evidence of being intermediate between horridus and prorsus, suggesting that horridus directly evolved into prorsus, which would be incredibly cool if shown true.
Expect more ceratopsians soon...
- Scannella, J.B. and Fowler, D.W. (2009). "Anagenesis in Triceratops: evidence from a newly resolved stratigraphic framework for the Hell Creek Formation." Pp. 148–149 in 9th North American Paleontological Convention Abstracts. Cincinnati Museum Center Scientific Contributions 3.