The Lizard from Edmonton – Edmontosaurus
A few days ago, team members at Everything Dinosaur received an email from a young dinosaur fan, asking how Edmontosaurus got its name. This Ornithopod, a member of the Hadrosauridae family, (duck-billed dinosaur), was named and described by the Canadian palaeontologist Lawrence Lambe in 1917. Lambe was responsible for the study of a number of North American dinosaurs that were discovered in the early years of the 20th Century. Fossils of this particular dinosaur genus have been found in Alberta (Canada) and the United States (Montana and Wyoming).
Edmontosaurus was one of the last of the duck-billed dinosaurs, living at the very end of the Cretaceous (70-65 million years ago) – Maastrichtian faunal stage.
An Illustration of Edmontosaurus (Edmontosaurus regalis)
Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur
Edmontosaurus is known from many fossilised skeletons. It must have been one of the most abundant of the large, herbivorous dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous and a number of species have been ascribed to this genus. These large animals that could grow to lengths of 13 metres and weigh as much as 4 tonnes, were the prey of the large Tyrannosaurs. A number of fossilised skeletons show signs of attacks from predators, including one specimen with a chunk bitten out of its tail. This flat-headed Hadrosaur was not named after the Canadian city of Edmonton, although fossils assoiciated with this genus are known from Edmonton and its suburbs. Edmontosaurus was named after the “Edmonton” Formation, the rock unit in which it was first found. The “Edmonton” Formation has subsequently been elevated to “Group” status by geologists and consists of four geological formations namely, (oldest first) Horseshoe Canyon, Whitemud, Battle and the Scollard Formation which contains evidence to make the Cretaceous-Palaeogene boundary. Edmontosaurus fossils (E. regalis) are associated with the Horseshoe Canyon Formation.