Parasaurolophus lived in North America during the Late Cretaceous, about 77 to 73 million years ago. This duck-billed dinosaur is known for the long, rounded crest on the back of its head.

Fun Facts

  • Parasaurolophus grew to 31 feet long from its nose to its tail.
  • Its name means “Near Crested Lizard” because it was originally believed to be similar to the saurolophus. Later scientists realized that the two are distantly related.
  • Parasaurolophus’s hollow crest contained hollow tubes, which attached to its windpipe. Originally scientists believed the dinosaur was an aquatic animal and the tubes were a sort of snorkel. More recently, they’ve come to believe that the tubes allowed this dinosaur to make sound.
  • Parasaurolophus lived in Alberta, Canada.
  • Scientists have learned that the young dinosaurs and females had smaller crests than adult males, which is common among many animals. Parasaurolophus had long arms and could walk on either two or four limbs.
  • It had a thinner beak than other duck-billed dinosaurs, which allowed it to be very selective about its food. It had hundreds of tiny teeth in the back of its mouth, known as a dental battery, which were used for mashing tough plant material.
  • On its back were tall neural arches, which made it appear to have a hump. Its thick, rigid tail was probably used in defense and to protect its young.

Questions and Answers

Question: Why did this dinosaur need to make sound?

Answer: The parasaurolophus likely used the trombone-like structure in its crest to make sound for a variety of reasons. Baby dinosaurs, which likely made a high-pitched sound, could call for their mothers, who cared for them when they were young. Mothers could call for their babies. Male dinosaurs used their sound to find a mate or gain domination over other males.

Learn More

Listen to what this dinosaur’s call might have sounded like.