Preparing a Dilophosaurus Display

By | March 15th, 2021|Dinosaur Fans, Everything Dinosaur News and Updates, Main Page, Press Releases|0 Comments

Everything Dinosaur team members have been busy over the last few weeks as they help events companies, museums and other attractions prepare for the eagerly awaited easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK.

We have been asked to write a series of display panels for a number of dinosaur and prehistoric animal exhibits that will be opening (hopefully) in the summer. One dinosaur that has featured in this work is the Early Jurassic theropod from the western United States – Dilophosaurus (D. wetherilli).

Dilophosaurus wetherilli Makeover
Dilophosaurus has had a substantial makeover recently following the publication of a scientific paper in 2020. An amazing puppet depicting Dilophosaurus wetherilli that was created by Brian Engh. Picture Credit: Brian Engh.

Double Crested Lizard

With an estimated body length of around 6 metres, Dilophosaurus is one of the largest predators known from the Early Jurassic of North America. Fragmentary fossils of this dinosaur were discovered in 1942 in northern Arizona on Navajo Nation territory by a team of palaeontologists from the University of California who were assisted in their excavations by their Navajo Indian guide. The badly eroded fossil bones were carefully prepared and the first scientific description of this material was published in 1954. It was erroneously thought that the fossils represented a new type of Megalosaurus – a dinosaur known from the Early Jurassic of Europe.

Dilophosaurus wetherilli holotype material.
Dilophosaurus wetherilli holotype specimen (UCMP 37302): (1–4) articulated right side of the skull and line drawings. Plus (5, 6) nasolacrimal crest, (7, 8) left postorbital, (9, 10) left lacrimal, (11, 12) left quadratojugal, and (13, 14) left squamosal in (1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13) lateral and (3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14) medial view. Picture Credit: Marsh et al (Journal of Palaeontology).

Fossilised Crests Found in 1964

Expedition team members returned to the site in 1964 and uncovered more fossil bones including a partial skull with unusual bony crests. This dinosaur was subsequently re-described and named Dilophosaurus in 1970.
Dilophosaurus is one of the most extensively studied of all the carnivorous dinosaurs. A recent review, published in 2020, suggested that Dilophosaurus was a much more powerful animal than previously thought. It was probably an apex predator rather than a weak-jawed scavenger. The crests may have been brightly coloured and were probably used for display or played a role in thermoregulation – helping Dilophosaurus to keep cool, functioning in the same way as the casques on the heads of large, flightless birds such as cassowaries.

A new interpretation of Dilophosaurus wetherilli.
The new interpretation depicts Dilophosaurus as an apex predator which was very bird-like. Those crests could have played a role in thermoregulation. Picture Credit: Brian Engh.

An Everything Dinosaur Dilophosaurus Video

Recently, Everything Dinosaur created a short video for the company’s YouTube channel that provided more information on the 2020 Dilophosaurus scientific paper.

To read more about this and to see the video: Time to Beef Up Dilophosaurus.