On the News @ University of Alberta
Headless dinosaur reunited with its skull, one century later
“After being headless for almost a century, a dinosaur skeleton that had become a tourist attraction in Dinosaur Provincial Park was finally reconnected to its head.
Researchers at the University of Alberta have matched the headless skeleton to a Corythosaurus skull from the university’s Paleontology Museum that had been collected in 1920 by George Sternberg.
“In the early days of dinosaur hunting and exploration, explorers only took impressive and exciting specimens for their collections, such as skulls, tail spines and claws,” explained graduate student Katherine Bramble, adding the practice was commonly referred to as head hunting. “Now, it’s common for paleontologists to come across specimens in the field without their skulls.”
A surprising discovery
The headless Corythosaurus skeleton has been a tourist attraction in Dinosaur Provincial Park since the 1990s. In the early 2010s, a group of scientists noticed newspaper clippings dating back to the 1920s in the debris around the site. Among them was Darren Tanke, technician at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and co-author on the paper, who began to wonder if this skeleton could be related to the skull at the University of Alberta. That was where Bramble and her supervisor Philip Currie came in, along with former post-doctoral fellow Angelica Torices.
“Using anatomical measurements of the skull and the skeleton, we conducted a statistical analysis,” Bramble explained. “Based on these results, we believed there was potential that the skull and this specimen belonged together.”
In 2012, the skull and skeleton of the Corythosaurus were reunited. Whole once more, the specimen resides at the University of Alberta.” (…) READ MORE
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