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).
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.
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.
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.